Skip to main content

Full text of "Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini : foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus"

See other formats






R 4 • fa A L- - 


T HE ENGLISH TRANSLATION of Mother Cabrifii's 
travels, printed in London twenty years ago, lacks 
much of the classic beauty of the original Italian. 
Though the Blessed Foundress zvrote exclusively for 
her ^'Daughterswithout any attempt to literary style, 
the original letters, penned tra un^onda e Valtra, are 
gems of literature. 

This new edition is printed to satisfy the numerous 
requests of Mother CabrinVs clients. A more faithful 
and better translation zvill be published as soon as cir¬ 
cumstances permit. No letters of Mother Cabrini^s 
first voyage were found among her manuscripts. This 
volume begins with her second voyage to New York. 

We are grateful to His Excellency, the Most Rev¬ 
erend Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, D.D. for his kind 
permission to preface these letters with the biographical 
sketch from his book Sanctity in America.*^ 

The Missionary Sisters of the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus. 







Foundress of The Missionary Sisters of The 
Sacred Heart of Jesus 

With a Biographical Sketch by 
The Most Rev. Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, D.J3. 
Apostolic Delegate to The United States 

Published by 




First Printing, November, 1944 

Nihil Obstat: 

Rev. J. J. Clifford, S. J. 
Censor Deputatus. 


i^^Samuel a. Stritch, D.D. 
Archiepiscopus Chicagiensis 
August 19, 1944 

printed in the united states of AMERICA 




Blessed Frances Xavier Cabrini, by the Most Rev. 

Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, D.D. vii 

Introduction, by Ottavio Turchi, SJ . xiii 

Second Voyage to New York—April, 1890 . 1 

New York to Havre—August, 1890 . 15 

Havre to New York—September, 1891 . 21 

New York to Nicaragua—October, 1891 . 35 

Genoa to New York—September, 1894 . 55 

New Orleans to Panama—May, 1895 . 77 

Panama Down the Pacific and Across the Andes to 

Buenos Aires—October, 1895 107 

Buenos Aires to Barcelona—August, 1896 . 145 

Liverpool to New York—November, 1898 . 161 

New York to Havre—September, 1899 . 185 

Genoa to Buenos Aires—December, 1900 . 195 

Buenos Aires to Genoa—August, 1901 . 211 

London to New York—August, 1902 217 

Inauguration of the House in Denver— 

November, 1902 229 

Letter to the Alumnae of Rome—May, 1904 . 239 

Letter to the Alumna of Rome—May, 1905 . 251 

Letter to the Students of Teachers* College— 

February, 1906 . 259 



d^iedded tranced )Cauier C^aL 


By the Most Reverend Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, D.D. 
Apostolic Delegate to the United States, 

tpRANCES XAVIER CABRINI was born at Sant’Angelo 
^ di Lodi (Lombardy), Italy, on July 15, 1850, the young¬ 
est of a family of thirteen children. Even as a child she learned 
to love prayer, following the splendid example of her parents, 
her brothers and sisters. At the age of seven she was confirmed 
and at ten received her First Holy Communion. 

Frances, who possessed a ready intelligence and an unselfish 
disposition, was fired with enthusiasm upon reading the Annals 
of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Although she 
was but a child, the missionary ideal was beginning to fasten 
itself in her heart—only half understood perhaps, but none the 
less real. In her child’s play, she would gather violets and, placing 
them in tiny paper boats, send them away on the waters of the 
country brooks, dreaming the while of herself making long voyages 
to distant lands to carry on the work of converting pagans. When 
she was thirteen she revealed her desire to her sister Rose, fifteen 
years older than she. ‘‘You who are so small and not yet educated 
dare to dream of becoming a missionary!” was the comment she 
received. But Frances kept her radiant dream in her heart and 
waited patiently. In the meantime she continued her studies, 
and at the age of eighteen obtained her teacher’s certificate. A year 
later her parents died. 

Frances then definitely considered the question of her vo¬ 
cation. She sought to enter two religious communities, and in 
each case was rejected on account of her delicate constitution 
and poor health. Thus apparently unable to follow her heart’s 
desire, the young girl nevertheless gave her leisure to works of 

♦From “Sanctity in America”, St. Anthony Guild Press, Paterson. N. J. 


viii Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

charity and religion. At the request of the parish priest she 
taught catechism to children and visited the poor; when she 
was twenty-two (1872), she distinguished herself in assisting 
the victims of an epidemic of smallpox. 

For two years Frances now taught in the public school of 
the nearby town of Vidardo, and became known even to the 
civil authorities for her ability and her kindness. In 1874 she 
accepted the position of directress of a school for orphans at 
Codogno—always, however, keeping the missionary ideal before 
her. In 1880 the Most Reverend Dominic Gelmini, Bishop of 
Lodi, who had learned of the extraordinary intellectual and moral 
qualities of the superior of the orphanage, summoned her and 
said: ‘‘You wish to become a missionary; the time is ripe; I 
do not know a community of missionary Sisters; you must found 
one.” Frances, as an obedient daughter, answered humbly and 
confidently: “I shall seek a house.” On November 14, 1880, 
with a few companions she took up residence in an abandoned 
monastery, formerly the property of the Franciscans of Codogno. 
The new home was soon surmounted by a statue of the Sacred 
Heart, and on the door was placed an inscription that is now 
known throughout the world: “Institute of the Missionary Sisters 
of the Sacred Heart.” 

The new Institute grew rapidly, and in a few years there were 
houses in many parts of Lombardy and Italy. In 1887 Mother 
Cabrini went to Rome to request the approval of the Rule by the 
Holy See, and to found a house in the Eternal City. The Cardinal 
Vicar answered her: “A Community founded only seven years 
ago wishes to establish itself in Rome and to be approved? This 
is too much! In Rome there are already many such Commun¬ 
ities. And then, the funds? Do you have at least 150,000 lire 
($30,000) to build a house? Return, return to Codogno: we will 
talk about it some other time.” This answer was a deep disap¬ 
pointment, but Mother Cabrini, undaunted, comforted her weep¬ 
ing companion: “Be calm; the Lord will soon change his heart.” 
God rewarded her faith, for a few days later she was again 
received by the Cardinal Vicar. “Are you ready to obey?” he 
asked. “Well then, found two houses instead of one.” And 
shortly afterward, the decree of approval was given to the Institute. 



During her residence in Rome, Mother Frances Xavier had 
occasion to make the acquaintance of the Most Reverend John 
B. Scalabrini, Bishop of Piacenza and founder of the Missionaries 
of St. Charles Borromeo for Italian Emigrants. It was this holy 
bishop who first informed her of the conditions existing among 
the Italians in America, and requested her to send some Sisters 
to cooperate in the work that the Scalabrinians had already begun 
in New York. Mother Cabrini had alw^ays earnestly desired to 
go among the infidels of China, and she would not even now 
have changed her plan had it not been for the advice given her 
by Pope Leo XIII. “Not to the East, but to the West,*' said the 
aged Pontiff; and Frances no longer had any doubts or regrets. 
She was provided with letters of recommendation from the Secre¬ 
tariat of State of His Holiness and from the Sacred Congregation 
of the Propagation of the Faith; and in just two weeks, she was 
on her way to the United States with six companions. 

She landed in America on March 31, 1889. Immediately there 
were difficulties, but she was able to overcome them by her spirit 
of faith and fortitude, in the knowledge that she was fulfilling 
the mission entrusted to her by the Vicar of Jesus Christ. The 
condition of the Italian immigrants socially, economically and 
religiously was then very poor. The work of an apostle was 
urgently needed among them to help them combat the constant 
danger of loss of faith. Mother Cabrini began and extended 
her work for them with an energy that at times seemed rash. 
Taking for herself the motto of the Apostle, “Omnia possum in 
eo qui me confortat*'—“I can do all things in Him Who 
strengtheneth me** (Phil. 4:13)—she opened schools, colleges, 
kindergartens, hospitals and free clinics in New York, New Or¬ 
leans, Chicago, Seattle, Denver and Philadelphia. She did not 
confine her work to the United States but extended it to Nica¬ 
ragua, South America, Spain, France and England. Her program 
was to follow the multitudes of Italians who had gone abroad 
from their native land, to keep alive and renew the faith of the 
adults and to care for the new generations. Unsparingly, she 
undertook long and repeated journeys with the daring of a fear¬ 
less explorer. Her health, never strong, had become worse and 
often she burned with a fever for months at a time; yet she went 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

without hesitation to whatever place offered a new field for the 
charity of herself and her Sisters. 

Mother Cabrini studied the advisability of purchasing new 
properties, drew up contracts and directed construction of build¬ 
ings with an insight that seemed inspired. ''She constructed 
islands of rest, havens against germs, cold, hunger and death; 
restful houses of prayer and schools ventilated with fresh air as 
if by the very breath of Jesus; and by all those buildings she 
put in circulation the wealth of the rich for the benefit of the 
poor. Mother Cabrini placed the education of the learned at 
the disposal of the uneducated, turned kindness to the relief of 
misery, and brought fresh air and sunlight for the destruction 
of typhoid and tuberculosis. She was a swift and determined 
agent of the Heart of Christ.''^ Her work did not destroy in 
her the great tranquility of one who entrusts all to God Omni¬ 
potent; in the midst of her feverish activity "she seemed a 
portrait of peace."^ 

If we can say that Mother Cabrini favored one field of endeavor 
rather than another, it was the United States of America. She 
lived and worked here about twenty years. She came to know 
and love this country, and she saw in it the path of opportunity 
for her fellow-countrymen and their children. Because of her 
attachment to the United States, as well as to develop her enter¬ 
prises better and to unite her institutions to the country more 
securely, she obtained American citizenship in Seattle, Wash¬ 
ington, in the year 1909. Mother Cabrini understood the great 
future reserved to the Church in the United States. She founded 
here many of her community's most elaborate institutions. She 
understood the American mentality, and, in turn, Americans, in 
their admiration for the complete dedication of the "little Sister" 
to the work of God, assisted her generously. After 1912, Mother 
Cabrini spent five consecutive years in the United States; that 
is, until the day of her death, which occurred in Chicago on De¬ 
cember 22, 1917. Her body now rests in New York beneath the 
high altar of the chapel of the Mother Cabrini High School, 701 

1. “La Madre Cabrini in America,” by Igino Giordani, in UOsservatore 
Romano, November 13, 1938, p. 3. 

2. Parole Sparse della Beata Cabrini, by Don Giuseppe De Luca, Istituto 
Grafico Tiberino, Roma, 1938, p. xlvi. 



Fort Washington Avenue; and large numbers of the faithful 
go there to venerate Blessed Frances Xavier Cabrini and to ask 
for blessings and grace. 

Beatification and Steps toward Canonization 

The death of Mother Cabrini caused both mourning and lively 
hope. Those who had been the objects of her charity soon began 
to experience her efficacious protection from heaven. The tomb 
of the ‘‘Mother of the Emigrants^' became the goal of pious 
pilgrimages and the fame of her sanctity grew not only in Italy 
and in America but wherever the Sisters of the Institute carried 
on their works of charity and faith. The study of the Cause of 
beatification began soon after her death. The ordinary process 
was opened on August 3, 1928 at Chicago, and closed at Lodi, 
Italy, on April 5, 1929. The apostolic process began at Lodi on 
April 3, 1933, and was terminated at Chicago on September 27 
of the same year. On October 3, 1933, in the presence of the 
Apostolic Delegate to the United States, the recognition of the 
body took place at West Park, New York, and it was then trans¬ 
ported to the Chapel of the Mother Cabrini High School in the 
city of New York. 

There seemed to be but one difficulty in the processes of beati¬ 
fication. Francis Xavier Cabrini had died only sixteen years 
before, and Canon 2101 of the Code of Canon Law prescribes 
that fifty years must elapse after the death of a Servant of God 
before the examination into the heroism of his virtues is begun. 
At this point in the process, on May 8, 1935, the writer of these 
pages, as Apostolic Delegate to the United States of America, 
humbly implored the Supreme Pontiff, Pius XI, to deign to 
dispense from the prescriptions of Canon 2101 for the cause 
of Mother Cabrini, and to give, as far as possible, precedence 
to the Causes of beatification from the United States, especially 
those of Mother Seton and Catherine Tekakwitha. The August 
Pontiff, who had known Mother Cabrini personally, summoned 
Monsignor Natucci, Promoter General of the Faith, granted the 
dispensation and expressed the desire that the abovementioned 
Causes proceed rapidly, “in view,*' as he said, “of the need of 
great spiritual currents.'* On November 21, 1937, Frances Xavier 

xii Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Cabrini was declared Venerable and on November 13, 1938, she 
shone in triumph in the Basilica of St. Peter, the first citizen 
of the United States officially pronounced Blessed in heaven. 
The Pontifical Mass in the Vatican Basilica was celebrated by 
His Eminence George Cardinal Mundelein, the late Archbishop 
of Chicago, who twenty-one years before had celebrated Mother 
Cabrini’s funeral Mass. 

The Cause of Canonization was resumed the following year, 
with the decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, dated June 
21, 1939. The new miracles proposed were approved June 20, 
1943 and the final decree of Canonization of Mother Frances Xavier 
Cabrini was signed on February 27, 1944. Such rapid progress 
is becoming in the case of one who in her lifetime saw the rise 
through her own instrumentality, of sixty-seven houses of the 
religious institute she had founded. 


'T'HE first cry heard in these pages is the voice of an apostle, 
who yearns to win souls for the Heart of Jesus. They are 
letters that breathe flames of love. One seems to hear Saint 
Francis Xavier again repeating in his letters, “Oh, that I could 
visit all the universities of Europe, especially that of Paris,” where 
he had studied and taught, “and say to those who have more 
learning than charity, how many souls are lost in India through 
their fault. I should like to write to the professors and tell them 
how many thousands of pagans are eternally lost for want of 
labourers; that gold and diamonds are sought with more fervour 
than the missionary seeks souls which cost Jesus Christ much 
more than gold or diamonds. His Precious Blood and His Life.” 

In like manner. Mother Cabrini wrote long letters to the Univer¬ 
sity Students, and to the other students of the House in Rome, 
echoing the words of Saint Francis Xavier, and telling them that 
innumerable souls, especially those of poor Italian emigrants who 
go to the two Americas, were miserably lost through ignorance of 
religion, the source of every other calamity, as Benedict XV, and 
Pius X. often stated. She saw the Indians of Albuquerque with¬ 
out the light of the true faith, and, in consequence, suffered with 
the sorrow of the Apostle. Albeit, she had led to America up to 
the year 1906 more than 400 Missionary Sisters. Love is, says 
the Holy Spirit, like unto fire and so is never satisfied, and longs 
for new victories, investing all with its warmth. Just as Saint 
Francis Xavier made the conversion of China the chief object of 
his desire, so did Mother Cabrini make it her own most ardent 
wish. But Saint Francis Xavier died at Sancian, at the entrance 
of China, without being able to enter it, and our Missionary Sister 
died before she was able to conduct any of her children thither. 
But as Saint Francis Xavier in Heaven obtained for his brethren 
their entrance and Apostolate in the vast Chinese Empire, so 
Mother Cabrini, having become more powerful in Heaven, has 
opened this new field to the indomitable zeal of the Missionary 
Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Even “Darkest Africa,” 
once so fruitful in Fathers, Doctors and Martyrs of the Church, 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

seemed to her destined to provide many a hero of the Faith. 
Women, indeed, are called by God to be really helpful to the 
African Missionaries! 

We are touched when we see in her letters how she reproached 
the steamers which did not move fast enough to satisfy her zeal! 
She wept when she met entire populations, still uncivilized, groping 
yet in the darkness of error. She hastened to make a vow to go 
where the missionary had not yet reached. She shuddered when 
she saw how Protestants fearlessly travelled to imbue people with 
their false doctrines, and to earn the large salary which the Bible 
Society of London and U.S.A. offers. How she lamented and 
reproached, with womanly eloquence, the pusillanimity of so many 
Catholics. She envied those who spoke English and Spanish, and 
she made an effort to say a few words, but her tongue could not 
do justice to the ardent aspirations of her heart, for she wanted 
to tell of the beauty of the Catholic Religion and the attraction of 
the Sacred Heart. Secretly she mourned whilst voyaging on one 
occasion with 1,300 Italian emigrants from Italy and Switzerland, 
who were so poor and crowded in the third-class cabins, that in 
the New World they were called Barbarians, and she sorrowed 
more at the fact that these unfortunate people had no one to speak 
to them of God. How sublime was that apostolic exclamation:_ 

“Oh, if I could build a steamer for myself to traverse all these 
seas! I should call it ‘Christopher,’ i.e., the bearer of Christ to 
the people.” 

One might ask on taking this book in hand, “How could a 
Missionary Nun, who, in thirty-five years, crossed the ocean 
thirty times, climbed the awe-inspiring Cordilleras, and traversed 
the immense Pampas which extends from Mendoza to Rio de la 
Plata, and founded hundreds of schools and institutes of Charity, 
write such long accounts of her voyages?” She wrote on the 
decks of the steamers. How great must have been her power of 
quiet concentration! W^hat control of self was required I And, 
though she always suffered poor health, she was always anxious 
for the health of her spiritual daughters, who suffered during 
these voyages, and for the government of the many communities 
of her Institute. It was a spectacle worthy of angels and of men. 
Where others well inured to travelling would succumb to fatigue, 
this woman remained calm and serene. 



She relates that in one of her voyages she was obliged to change 
steamers nine times in twelve days, the ships being unable to 
continue. She was obliged to walk on a plank for four hours 
under a downpour of rain with no place of shelter near. She 
watched over her spiritual daughters who succumbed to the 
hardships of the storm-tossed voyage, and would spend hours in 
their cabins, encouraging them and trying to make them happy. 
It is delightful to read her ever kindly comments on the sea-woes 
of her dear companions. As things improved, she would gather 
them around her on deck to perform their devotions as if in the 
Convent. They had lectures, meditations, examination of con¬ 
science, as prescribed by the Rules. They made novenas for the 
Feasts of Our Lord, Our Lady and the Saints. They sang the 
Litanies, Ave Maris Stella, and the voices of the Sisters blended 
with the waves of the ocean. At times a crowd of astonished 
voyagers took part in these reunions. If on the steamer a priest 
was present, she rejoiced to be able to hear Mass, to receive Holy 
Communion, to have the usual ceremonies, and would tactfully 
make arrangements for the priest to preach to the people. How 
she would grieve when on board there was no Holy Communion, 
no Holy Mass celebrated! On arrival at some port where the 
steamer stopped for a short time, she would make every effort to 
get on shore to assist at the Holy Sacrifice. When from the 
steamers she perceived the steeple of some church, her thoughts 
would fly to the Tabernacle, and she would invite her children to 
make a Spiritual Communion. 

Whence did this Missionary Sister draw so much calmness of 
spirit? Did she not feel and fear the difficulties and see the 
dangers? Yes, she felt them and feared them! She instinctively 
feared the sea, for at seven years of age she accidentally fell into 
a swift stream, and was all but carried away by the turbulent 
current. She was saved almost miraculously, but her constitution, 
already delicate, ever felt the consequences. If it were not the 
voice of the Holy Father that consigned to her the American 
Missions of the Italian emigrants, she would never have dared to 
cross the ocean. But Holy Obedience and her Apostolic aim had 
almost transformed her nature. She looked serenely at the roaring 
waves and blessed them with a little statue of the Saviour. Every¬ 
one advised her not to attempt to traverse the Cordilleras of the 

xvi Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Andes; but nothing could frighten her indomitable heart, neither 
the terrific heights, nor volcanoes, nor snow eight metres deep, 
nor lakes, nor the incredible distances. Confident in Our Lady, 
Saint Rose and Saint Philomena, she crossed these mountains on 
mules to reach Buenos Aires, where she was to found schools for 
all classes. As her Patron Saint used to say, so she repeated, 
“I am afraid only of want of confidence in God my Protector.” 
After her first voyage to New York, which was in 1889, she was 
wont to write: “My secure boat is the Sacred Heart, my Star 
of the sea is Mary, and my Protector is Saint Francis Xavier, 
the wonder worker.” 

The pages of these letters are very attractive in many ways, 
but everything else yields to the fragrance of their religious 
spirit. Her letters indicate the free up-soaring of her soul, and 
she did not learn all this in the school of rhetoric, but from the 
Holy Spirit during her daily communications with God. To see 
in her voyages the beauty of nature, of art, particularly of the 
cities she visited, was, as it were, for her to raise herself on the 
wings of love from visible things to the invisible. In the immensity 
and depths of the ocean she contemplated the Majesty of God, in 
the tempests she saw His divine displeasure provoked by the 
crimes of men. She painted the storms with the brush of a great 
artist, and so vividly, that one shudders as page unfolds page. 
The transparent azure sea was, as it were, for her the Heaven of 
a soul possessed of God. The works of Jesus in the souls united 
to Him she describes in such detailed mystic psychology, that 
one would think she spoke of her own personal experiences. If, 
in such matters, she emulates Saint Teresa, when dealing with the 
Sacred Heart, she recalls to our minds Saint Gertrude. The 
Christian Feasts which occurred during her voyages were passed 
in sublime and practical contemplation, the like of which I have 
never read of in other books. 

She lived always in the midst of her loving daughters, and by 
her letters she encouraged them to seek that religious perfection 
required by the glorious title of Missionary of the Sacred Heart. 
She thinks of all her daughters scattered in her many Houses, 
though many of them are 4,000 or 6,000 miles away. With those 
who are with her, she forms one heart and one soul with them in 
the heart of Jesus, conversing, singing, working with and amusing 



them. There are perhaps fifteen Sisters with her on a voyage, and 
she makes each Sister represent a Mystery of the Rosary. To them 
she is the Mother rather than the Superior; she charms them, and 
does what she likes with them in order to give them Jesus Christ. 

At a tender age she consecrated her genius, her heart, her time 
and even her very life. Death suddenly snatched her from us in 
the Hospital of Chicago, founded by her, while she was preparing 
Christmas presents for five hundred children. The poor emigrants, 
especially the sick, were her favourites. For them she founded 
several Hospitals of New York, Chicago and Seattle, where many 
thousands of Italians find refuge and health. In these letters of 
hers are found counsels for the solution of the Emigration prob¬ 
lem; she is full of compassion for the emigrants, who are often 
deceived by those who hypocritically pretend to act as their 
protectors, cloaking their unjust intentions with the mantle of 
philanthropy and patriotism. The fate of many Italians would 
have been dreadful if they had not had help from the Missionary 
Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Who would have consoled them in 
prison, visited their unfortunate families, fed their orphans, de¬ 
fended their cases even in civil courts and obtained reductions 
of their penalties? And especially can we read of the lamentable 
condition of the Italians working in the coal-mines, buried alive 
away from their families and hearing little or nothing about God. 

Mother Cabrini had the gift of being all to all in order to bring 
them to God. One reads of this in the two long letters addressed 
to the students of Rome who were preparing themselves for public 
teaching. They are typical letters, rich with interesting news, 
written spontaneously, yet in how perfect a style! In them you 
may recognise the teacher of natural history, literature, pedagogy. 
They are two masterpieces of their class, wherein are blended 
sound piety and sound erudition. Associating utility and sweetness, 
she raises the mind of young girls from earth to Heaven, describing 
the elevation of woman through Mary Immaculate, whom she 
represents as a cloud illumined by the sun or by the rainbow an¬ 
nouncing clear weather. Without any effort she gives them a 
catechetical lesson, and speaks of religious culture as if she were a 
Bishop . . . She shows the need of discipline to form the character, 
and, speaking with full conviction, she declares it to be the only 
guarantee of success for private individuals and public institutions. 

xviii Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

She closes her two letters to her dear students, calming their fears 
for their coming exams, which are the torment and bugbear of 
youth, showing them the secret of success. 

We must not suppose that the foundations of Mother Cabrini 
always enjoyed a favourable wind. It is certain, however, as is 
seen in these accounts, that when the strong woman encountered 
difficulty in her foundations, she felt more courage and hoped, 
like Abraham, against hope. The reason is sublime and derived 
from her evangelical meditations. ‘Tnstead of fearing, I felt more 
encouraged, and I seemed to rejoice when my work began with 
a cross, which is the seal of all good enterprises.'’ She always 
depended on the local Bishops, and never began anything without 
their approbation. Read what happened in Paris, as narrated of 
that foundation. 

Her strong will and indomitable courage appear in her letters. 
Read the account of the expulsion of her daughters from Nicaragua. 
She was always true to herself, always well-balanced in mind and 
heart, having the grand programme of St. Ignatius before her. 
‘‘Ad majorem Dei gloriam et ad animarum salutem." This was 
the programme of Our Saviour Himself. These sublime ideals 
permeate her account of her transactions with Presidents of 
Republics, with Bishops, captains of ships and public administra¬ 
tors, for the foundations of Houses. 

“The style of writing reveals the man." This is true where 
the writings are simple, and these letters reflect, faithfully, humility, 
strength, patience, perseverance, constancy in enterprise, contempt 
of the world, the holy freedom of the love of God, candour of the 
soul, the most fragrant zeal for the glory of the Sacred Heart and 
for the salvation of souls, which so enriched the heart of Mother 

In reading these letters I felt better, and thank the Author of 
all good. For my apostolic life, I learned salutary truths. 

The comfort I derived from the reading of these letters I wish 
to all other readers of them, but in double measure. 

Ottavio Turchi, S.J. 


Second Sdoy^age to Tlew 
CZpni i8go 

A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

Friday, April 18, 1890. 

My dear Daughters: (*) 

When I left you, last Wednesday, I tried to think that I was 
only going as far as Milan, and would therefore remain near you; 
but in Milan, when I was about to undertake such a long journey 
across the ocean and leave you for a long time, I felt overwhelmed. 
Relief came when I remembered the promises, made by each one 
of you, to study to become true brides of Christ and worthy 
Missionaries of His Sacred Heart. 

How much this thought, my daughters, softens every pain! 
It makes me find sweetness in all labours and crosses, should I 
have any, and gives me great joy. If we reflect well, for us there 
are no distances: the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 
must participate in the immensity of this Divine Heart, Who 
embraces all, comprehends all, animates all, unites all in Himself. 
It is He Who sustains us in these temporary separations. Who 
makes us share in His strength. Who communicates to us every 
grace. He is our true Treasure; love Him with all your hearts, 
serve Him faithfully, encourage all souls to be detached from 
creatures, from all things, even from themselves, that they may 
succeed in possessing His perfect love, which is an anticipation 
of Heaven. Let all your affections, my daughters, be centred in 
this beautiful Heart, and you will always be happy; but if, 
instead, you foster private affections that tie you to self, or to 

♦ The Missionary Sisters of The Sacred Heart, The Alumnae and Students 
of the Teachers* College in Rome, to whom these letters were addressed, 
are affectionately called “Daughters,** by Mother Cabrini. 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

creatures, you will always have annoyances, hours of disgust and 
melancholy. Free yourselves, and put on wings, I pray you, in 
order that you may rise above the earth. 

Arrival at Paris, The journey has been very happy. While 
we were passing through those high chains of mountains, and 
admiring so many beauties of nature created by God just to give 
pleasure to His creatures, our souls felt raised to sublime medita¬ 
tion. It was beautiful to notice the sweet impression the many 
various sights they saw made on the minds and in the hearts of 
the Sisters, for this was the first time they had made this journey. 

About 2 a.m. someone opened the door of the compartment and 
asked us to alight, but we did not obey, because we had been told 
it was a through train to Paris. Three minutes later they returned 
and begged us again to leave the compartment, but they received 
no satisfaction, because I did not understand what they were 
saying. Sister Ignatius, half-asleep, contented herself with answer¬ 
ing, “Close the door.’’ To bring us to our senses, the Station- 
master, accompanied by several porters, told us that the carriage 
in which we were had broken down. At last we understood and 
left the compartment in haste. Quicker than I could tell, our 
luggage was transferred to another compartment, where we re¬ 
mained very comfortable until we arrived in Paris. We then 
thanked our dear Spouse for the great love He had shown us in 
preserving us. We made a very fervent Spiritual Communion, 
and went to sleep again! 

We arrived in Paris an hour and a half behind time on account 
of the accident, nevertheless we found Mrs. Gabin awaiting us. 
At once she conducted us to the Church of Our Lady of Victories, 
where we all received Holy Communion, to the great joy of our 
souls. This being our first visit to this Sanctuary, it left a great 
impression on me. The most holy Virgin, our loving Mother, 
invited me, maybe, because I have placed our Institute and each 
one of you in a special manner under her protection, and through 
her, in the Heart of the Child Jesus. What beautiful graces will 
shower down upon us, for our sanctification, for the good of the 
Institute and for the salvation of souls! We spent a few hours, 
accompanied by a lady who was our guide, in viewing the principal 
streets and sights of importance. A little after mid-day we 

Second Voyage to New York—Aprils 1890 


took train for Havre, and arrived there about 5 o’clock in the 

Saturday, 19th. This morning we went to visit and pay our 
respects to the Captain and Commissioner. They listened with 
great courtesy, and offered their help in all our needs. These 
persons did not know us, but they were so kind to us. From 
this we can learn to appreciate the great love the Heart of Jesus 
has for His Spouses. He heaps upon us benefits and favours we 
do not merit. Let us be ever grateful, so that gratitude may 
obtain for us greater graces. This morning we went on deck, 
saluted the sea, the image of the immensity of God, then we 
recited our prayers, which, without effort, came fervently from 
our souls. We then recited the Ave Maris Stella. We did not 
sing because we were afraid of disturbing the other passengers on 
board, but the Most Holy Virgin, who had blessed our departure, 
listened to the melody of the affections of her devout daughters, 
if not the melody of their voices. 

At 9 a.m. we left the port, and in a short time we were soon on 
the open sea and had lost sight of land. It was raining a little, 
but the passengers said we should have a good voyage. We did 
not feel anxious about this, because we knew we were in the Hands 
of God, enclosed in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and this 
thought rendered us secure and tranquil in every event. As soon 
as Sister Battistina saw the boat move, she said she felt a dizziness 
in her head. Half-an-hour later she was very sick, and one after 
the other followed her example. I was the only one who remained 
unaffected. I wished the boat were steady, so that I might go 
on with my work, but I found I had to give up all idea of this. 
However, I continued to feel much better, and by degrees I felt I 
could breathe more freely. This, too, helped me to raise my 
soul to God, and I could almost say in all seriousness what I said 
jocularly a few days ago, that if the Sacred Heart would give me 
the means I would construct a boat called “The House of Gris- 
toforo” (“Bearer of Christ”) to traverse with one Community, 
little or big, so as to carry the Name of Christ to all people, to 
those who as yet do not know Him, and also to those who have 
forgotten Him. But these are futile thoughts, and I do not permit 
them to occupy my mind, but they serve for a little recreation. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

At half-past ten the bell rang for breakfast; they all found 
courage to come to table with me, but could not take anything, 
and they soon left one after the other. Sister Ignatius tried to 
force herself to eat and keep herself strong, but half through the 
meal she also had to follow the others. I remained alone and 
stayed until breakfast was over. 

Sunday, April 20th. Yesterday, at dinner, all the Sisters came 
to table and took a little refreshment. Then we all went on deck 
to inhale the air and revive and refresh our lungs. At half-past 
seven we returned to our cabins. We stayed a little time and 
said prayers. Towards nine o’clock we went to bed and slept 
all night. The sea was very calm. Sister Assunta thought she 
heard a hurricane, but it was only a little rain beating against the 
windows. You should see poor Sister Assunta! She looks so 
woe-begone. How would she be if the sea were at all rough? 
However, she laughs heartily when asked what is worrying her 
and making her look so miserable. 

This morning the sea is still very calm. I have never seen it 
so calm. It is literally like a lake. The boat goes so quickly, 
and we don’t feel the motion at all. The sun shines beautifully, 
and the air is good. There is no odour in the cabin whatever. 
The boat is so well-built and well-ventilated; we seem to be having 
a journey on land. For all that, all the Sisters were not able to 
be present at breakfast, and the few that came were not able to 
stay. I soon found myself alone as yesterday. The steward, 
who is near us at table, gave orders to the waiters to bring some¬ 
thing special for the Sisters who were sick. Poor Sisters! At 
every movement of the boat they think we are in a great storm. 
Sister Eletta would like to have the boat stopped, at least during 
meals. I told the steward this just to make him laugh; he is so 
kind, he looks like a Saint Francis de Sales. 

How many beautiful thoughts the calmness of the sea suggests. 
We see in it the happiness of a soul that lives in the tranquillity 
of the grace of God. In such a fortunate soul all is calm; peace 
undisturbed; it has the capacity of raising itself to the sublimity 
of the Divine mysteries. This gives us a vision of the immensity 
of the power of God, Who commands this endless sea, which could 
rise in whirling billows, while on the contrary it remains calm and 


Second Voyage to New York — April, 1890 

tranquil. God commands, the sea obeys. If also in Religion 
every Sister would obey her Superior, with perfect submission 
that is, without relying on her own judgment, what calmness, 
what tranquillity, what a sweetness of Paradise would be hers! 
My daughters! Act in this way, be obedient, be most humble, 
not having your own judgment, submitting with great peace and 
simplicity to your Superiors, and there will be in your Houses a 
true anticipated Paradise which will precede the eternal one which 
awaits you. It seems as if Jesus Himself has said to the sea, 
“Peace be with you.” Hence this is a figure of a pure soul, with¬ 
out wrath, who leaves all, and is united exclusively with her beloved 
and Divine Spouse; reposing on His left arm while with the right 
He caresses her. My dear daughters, be purely disinterested, be 
detached from all things and all persons, and also from yourselves, 
from your desires and inclinations, and thus be like a true sea of 
peace. You will become like a great ocean, because the pure 
soul is capable of great things, and the mind is thus able to wander 
in the immensity of God. The soul full of earthly ties, full of 
attachments, is always narrow, very small, understands little, 
pusillanimous, frequently dejected, and is never able to throw 
itself into the immensity of Divine Service. I don’t want any 
such souls among my daughters, nor among my friends. I want 
you all to have wings and fly swiftly and repose in that blessed 
peace possessed by a soul that is all for God. Therefore I desire 
to be likewise. Then pray, my daughters, pray for me; I have 
many desires, but all are barren. If these desires were talents, 
oh, how badly off I should still be, because I should be obliged to 
multiply them, even now they lie hidden and bear no fruit. The 
thought that we can always humble ourselves and obtain pardon 
from God is a consolation for me. Yes, my daughters, let us 
always humble ourselves before God in every instant of our life, 
and we shall be, by God’s merciful condescension, raised above 
our pettiness, and we shall be admitted to a foretaste of the peace 
and tranquillity of which the sea I am crossing is an image. 

Monday, 21st. Here we are; the see-saw has started, moved 
by almighty hand of God: willy nilly we have to play the game. 
Yesterday about five o’clock in the afternoon the sea began 
to be a real sea. It was not possible to stand on your feet without 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

leaning on something for support. Already five hours have elapsed 
since Sister Eletta began to pray God to calm the sea. But now, 
seeing such a frightful spectacle, she is lost for words, and thinks 
the best thing to do is to go to bed as the other Sisters have done. 
I remain firm and always keep on deck. I made them laugh so 
much that Sister Eletta said she felt almost better. After supper, 
about six o’clock, I wanted to see the other good Sisters, and, 
following their example, I began to feel sea-sick. Patience! Twice 
I was obliged to resign myself to their company. Sister Assunta 
looks like a soul full of thoughts and weariness. Sister Giovannina 
is always laughing, even when she is very sick. Sister Agostina 
also smiles. Sister Bernardina is just like one dead, so is Sister 
Battistina! Sister Ignatius tries to endeavour to follow my 
example, but after a time she has to run for her life, or else stay 
in the cabin so as not to fall. Of all the passengers on board, 
both men and women, only six or seven come to the table. It is 
dreadful if we do not try to resist this sickness; the best plan is 
to stay on deck; even if it rains, it is better to remain in the 
open. Last night, I stayed until after midnight, partly dressed 
(because I believed a storm was threatening), so as to be ready 
to save myself and all; but the good God is continually watching 
over His Spouses. The great swing subsided though the gale beat 
all round us. I rose early this morning to go on deck to view 
the wonderful spectacle. Oh! how beautiful is the sea in its 
great motion! How the waves swell and foam! Enchanting! 
The wind is, however, favourable, and the boat goes so quickly, 
it seems to fly. If you could only see the waves! None of us 
could stay at the stern because the waves swept over the vessel 
at every moment. At the bows it is not so bad, and, stretched in 
an armchair, I can write fairly well. A single wave could sub¬ 
merge all, but He Who has created the sea and has commanded 
it to rise like mountains, would not permit His beloved creatures 
to be drowned, much less His loving Spouses. God loved us 
before He created the sea; nay, He created the sea itself for our 
use and pleasure. He has chosen us for His Spouses, and we 
have answered His call, attracted by His infinite lovableness. 
Let us remain, my daughters, entirely subject to Plim, conquered 
by His love; and let us run swiftly in His footsteps. The good 
God has perpetually loved us with the love of predilection, so let 

Second Voyage to Nezv York — April, 1890 


us love Him and serve Him with joy during the few days of our 
life. If you were all here with me, dear daughters, to cross the 
immense ocean, you would exclaim, ‘‘Oh, how great and loving 
is God in all His works!'’ But the ocean of graces, oh, my 
daughters, that the good Jesus pours down upon us, in every 
instant of our life, is immensely superior to anything in nature. 
All natural splendours are eclipsed by the abundance of riches 
which God showers upon His beloved Spouses. Let us venerate 
and love, then, our excellent state, and let us examine ourselves 
frequently and remove all defects that are unbecoming the Virgins 
of Christ, so that our Beloved may quickly introduce us into the 
Holy of Holies and plant charity in our souls. 

Tuesday, 22nd April, To-day I am writing a few lines only, 
because I am tired out after what we have gone through. Yester¬ 
day evening the movement of the boat increased. It dipped at the 
stern to such an extent that we thought every moment it would 
capsize. Then they increased the speed of the engines so much 
that about midnight we felt a terrible shock, and the boat stopped 
suddenly. The engine was broken. The blowing of the horn, a 
bell and a bugle called all the sailors up. A great noise was 
heard, but no one knew what it was except that we realised the 
ship was at a standstill. I got up in order to secure a life-belt 
in case it was necessary. As soon as I was dressed I went to see 
all the Sisters. Sister Eletta ran to me first—she was terrified, 
and asked if I had heard anything. I laughed heartily in order 
to make her laugh so as to chase away her fears. In her cabin 
all were alarmed, while in the next all were sleeping as if nothing 
had happened. I thought it better to leave them there because 
they were all sleeping soundly. Meantime we went to see what 
was wrong. They told me we should be obliged to stay here 
until the engine was repaired; however the sea became tranquil, 
and the boat rocked gently. The voyage was impeded from about 
midnight until eleven next morning, when, while we were at table 
for breakfast, the boat renewed its course. Now we are swiftly 
sailing towards New York on a calm sea, as if nothing had hap¬ 
pened. In the meantime, when the boat was at a halt, all the Sisters 
got up, and now I am pleased to see them all with me on deck. 
Sister Agostina, Sister Battistina and Sister Assunta are still half- 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

bewildered. They don’t feel able to take anything, although it 
is nice to see them smiling and always resigned to the dear and 
holy Will of God. Having lost my sleep last night, I am very 
tired. Nevertheless I walk about, I eat; I am with you in spirit. 
To-night I will sleep, if the good God does not wish otherwise. 
Often we take pleasure in seeing the beautiful seagulls, at one 
moment flying in the air and at another frolicking on the water. 
They seem to be the image of our Guardian Angels, or of the many 
dear young Virgins that come to our Institute to become Mission¬ 
aries. This is the first time I have seen seagulls. 

Wednesday, 23rd April. We are near the shore of Newfound¬ 
land, and, as usual at this spot, the boat has an extraordinary 
movement indeed, which makes everyone feel uncomfortable. All 
the Sisters are again ill, or, rather, half-dead, except Sister Eletta 
and Sister Giovannina, who are now quite used to the sea and 
keep me company. Sister Eletta is our amusement with her 
geographical difficulties. She does not understand how the pilot 
of our ship is so ignorant as to keep in mid-ocean, while other 
boats from time to time in the distance always sail on the horizon, 
and therefore she thinks they are nearer the land and more secure 
than we are. And she marvels to see how the great circle is always 
at the same distance. To-day they have prepared the list of 
passengers to be given to the Officer of New York as soon as we 
enter the bay. Our names along with the others were stamped 
on a most beautiful card, and given to each first-class passenger. 
Sister Giovannina was from the beginning named Sister Giovan- 
nona. The points of meditation we have always ready; at the 
sight of the sea many beautiful thoughts and feelings arise 
within one. The sky is blue and the horizon is vast. It is the 
image of the love of God when it takes possession of a soul and 
makes it capable of an immensity of holy deeds. Yes! Grace is 
an infinite treasure of God and those who receive it, and make 
good use of it, are truly partakers of the friendship of God. Is it 
not precious for the immense increase which at every hour it 
makes in our souls? It is true, then, that the ocean is a beauti¬ 
ful image of grace. Let us try, oh, my daughters, to attract the 
grace of God to our souls, by perfect detachment of all and from 

Second Voyage to New York—Aprils 1890 9 

all, even from our most ardent desires that may disturb the peace 
and quietness of soul, which are the fruits of grace. 

Thursday, 24th April, I write after having assisted at a spectacle 
quite new to myself and also new to some of the sailors. About 
eleven o'clock we saw ourselves surrounded by enormous masses 
of ice. At first they appeared to be things of no importance, like 
white doves resting on the water, but afterwards, little by little, 
they grew much larger. They took enormous proportions, and 
when we got nearer to them we saw that they were about twelve 
times larger than our ship. The Captain reduced the speed of 
the engines and took a different route to avoid them, but for all 
that at one moment we were only a distance of about sixty yards 
from them. Now we see some of them in the distance. We feel 
afraid of the coming night. Perhaps, then, there will be danger, 
but we leave ourselves in the Hands of the good Jesus. 

A gentleman who already had made twenty-one ocean voyages 
had never seen a spectacle like this before; this has precisely been 
reserved for us. These icebergs are similar to great fortresses 
with their cutting notches. The sea to-day is very tranquil. All 
the Sisters are well except Sister Agostina, who still looks nearly 
half-dead. First one thing and then another delays our arrival. 
According to our calculations we shall not arrive before Tuesday. 
Imagine! We thought we should arrive in time to keep the Feast 
of the Patronage of Saint Joseph; instead we shall have to pass 
the Feast on sea and without Holy Communion. We are beginning 
to feel gravely the austerity of this painful fast. Oh, yes! when 
we arrive on land we shall look for a priest at once, in order that 
we may communicate, as we did a year ago. The marvellous 
spectacle, which is continually present to our vision, offers us a 
good preparation for Holy Communion, as we all see this is the 
work of Him, Whom we so ardently desire to welcome in the 
small Sanctuary of our souls. 

Friday, 25th April, To-day it is very hot, just like July. The 
sea is very beautiful, but the motion of the boat is very marked. 
The chairs will not stand in their places, and the waiters have a 
lot to do in order to keep them fastened, so that we may be 
comfortable and able to stay in the open. However, all the 

10 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Sisters are well. They have had breakfast with me, to my great 

The ladies were late in getting up this morning, and we have 
been able to say the prayers and Office of the Sacred Heart on 
deck. We also made a little meditation on the beautiful lesson 
of Saint Bernard, wherein he speaks of the force and power of the 
love of God in a soul, and how the possession of this love enables 
a soul not to feel further the weight of any cross, which rather 
becomes a great pleasure and delight. Oh, happy the soul that 
lives in the true love of Christ! My daughters, detach yourselves 
from all persons and all things, and you will have a foretaste of 
the Paradise of true, solid and Heavenly love. 

Before we went to rest last night we were thinking of you making 
the Holy Hour perhaps for us. We united with you in spirit and 
tasted with you the Paradise of holy union with God. Every day 
we invoke the Star of the Sea with the Ave Maris Stella, in honour 
of our loving Mother who truly protects us. Only yesterday we 
escaped a collision with those enormous masses of ice that were 
threatening our ruin. We owe this to our dear and powerful 
Mother. We are fairly happy. It seems that the passengers share 
our happiness, for first one and then another comes to stay and 
favour us with their company. 

Saturday, 26th April, Yesterday, about three o’clock, a heavy 
fog set in. So dense was it that we could only see a distance of 
a few yards. Fogs are always a source of great danger, more so 
on sea than on land. Our fear increased, for again we saw blocks 
of ice floating all round the boat. The engine was stopped for 
fear of striking against some of these masses of ice, but before 
evening the fog cleared, and we could see the horizon clearly. 
So the night will be calm. For fear of the ice the boat diverted its 
route. Whilst at other times the route is more northern towards 
the Banks of Terranova, this time it is more towards the south. 
Meantime the heat is like summer. For three days I look like 
Bacchus. My forehead is very red, even purple, and this redness 
is spreading all over my face. At first I thought it was erysipelas. 
I did not like the prospect, for I should have had to retire from 
the open, and fresh air is life to me. Happily, however, the doctor 
said the redness was the effect of the air and of the water which 

Second Voyage to New York — April, 1890 


was spraying on my face. I did not want to run away directly 
it began to rain and deprive myself of the air. 

To-day the skin has begun to peel off my forehead and nose. I 
am changing like a serpent. God wants me to change my life and 
be converted; to confirm this, my dearest daughters, pray. The 
Sacred Heart of Jesus will always hear favourably the prayers of 
children for their Mother. Pray! Pray! I am in need of your 
intercession. When I am converted and begin to lead a good 
life, it is certain that this will obtain many beautiful graces for 
the Institute. However, I am happy to think you have been so 
good. While in the midst of many dangers, especially those 
enormous masses of ice, we did not fall into the sea. Continue to 
be good, more generous and sacrificing, humble and meek on all 
occasions, especially in the moments when you feel self-love. 

A Protestant gentleman last night came and asked me to go 
with all the Sisters to a concert. I told him we could not accept 
the invitation, as Religious did not go to secular entertainments 
or amusements. Pie wanted to stay with us. He presented us 
with six tickets of a lottery worth half-a-dollar each, and he 
promised to be on the alert when the tickets were being drawn. 
I am sorry I do not understand, as this gentleman is a very good 
man. I like his frankness and the manner in which he speaks of 
our Holy Religion. Patience! pray to the Sacred Heart and 
Our Lady for his salvation. He is an Englishman who has lived 
for five years in New York. He promised to come and bring his 
wife with him to see our Orphanage; his wife is a Catholic. This 
gentleman thinks we have undertaken a very difficult mission, 
which offers little probability of success—that of the Italians; but 
hearing that it was just for this reason we undertook it, and will 
at any cost work for it, he has more esteem for us than ever, and 
is willing to give us help. Also another passenger, a certain De 
Pedro, Milanese, is travelling with us. At first he did not make 
himself known as an Italian, but when he saw everybody coming 
to us and making friends, he came also and declared his friend¬ 
ship, saying how happy he was to know us. Now he delights 
in spealcing Milanese with all his power. He admires also the 
success we have achieved in a few months, while he, for fifteen 
years, so he says, found nothing but sorrows and disappointments 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

numerous enough to fill a volume. The poor man does not know 
Jesus and the goodness of His Heart. He trusts only to his 
talents. Thus his days cannot be happy. 

Sunday, 27th April. To-day is the beautiful Feast of the 
Patronage of Saint Joseph. If we could find a priest on board, 
we should at least be able to hear Holy Mass; instead, this is the 
second Sunday that 1,300 persons are without Mass. There are 
on board 900 poor emigrants of the third-class, 700 Italians and 
200 Swiss. Poor things! I hope at least they will arrive in a 
town or village where there will be someone who will break for 
them the bread of the Mford of God. But God alone knows what 
will happen to the greater part of them! Perhaps they will 
become associated with their poor brothers of the New World, 
called Barbarians, because they have forgotten the noble principles 
of the Religion they were brought up in. For, unfortunately, 
they have amongst them a rabid anarchist, who often gathers 
them around him and, like Belial, incites them to revolt against 
authority and order in such a manner that the officers of the boat 
have to interfere. This is a small picture of many European 
nations, whose sons have lost the true sense of patriotism, at the 
mercy of their disorderly passions and of civil wars. They go 
rapidly towards their last ruin, the just punishment of God upon 
those who have forgotten that the Catholic Religion of their 
country constitutes their principal nobility and security. 

Oh, let us pray, my daughters, let us pray for so many of our 
brethren, and let their blindness be a good lesson and teach us 
to be more faithful in the observance of our Holy Rules, in order 
to console the afflicted Heart of Jesus, and obtain from Him 
blessings in great abundance for ourselves and for our neighbours. 
Their mistake will induce us to remain very humble in order that 
we may be enlightened and never allow our intellect to be 
darkened. God resists and confounds the proud, whereas He 
reveals Himself to the humble, and draws them nearer to Him 
and caresses them. I don’t want any among the Missionaries of 
the Sacred Heart to be attached to her own judgment, to cherish 
her own reasons, to receive badly any corrections from whom¬ 
soever it is given, or to submit with a bad will to this or that 
Superior. Each one must consider it a duty, rather, feel it a 


Second Voyage to New York — April, 1890 

necessity, to be under subjection to all. The Religious who acts 
in this way will be a true jewel of our Institute and an object of 
complacency to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. She will move 
Him to pour forth upon us many great treasures. Are you, then, 
humble, my daughters? Do you like the last place? Are you 
pleased to be despised, forgotten, and to be made of no account? 
The one who feels in this disposition, oh, let her pray for me! 
She is a real gem presented to me by my dearest Jesus; through 
her I will obtain all. Last evening the Commissioner of the boat 
presented me with six tickets for the lottery and another gentle¬ 
man six more—now we have fifteen. To-day the drawing is to 
take place; we shall see who is successful. 

Monday, 28th April. To-day we shall see land about three in 
the afternoon, but perhaps we shall not arrive in port until late 
in the evening, and we shall have to sleep again on sea. Our 
poor Sisters will be equally impatient to see us as we are to 
embrace them. We have been greatly delayed, but here we are 
now, and it is our duty to thank the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. 
We were alarmed on the day the engine broke down, but now we 
know that the delay was a great grace, because without this delay 
the meeting with the icebergs would have happened during the night 
and been fraught with great danger. Yesterday we were presented 
with other tickets for the lottery, in all nearly a hundred lire worth. 
They invited me to view the exhibition. I found nothing of any use 
to us. Even if we win, it will matter very little, because they 
are all useless things. I hope to have a greater gain of a more 
important kind—that of converting, with the help of the Most 
Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Protestant gentleman who presented 
me first with the tickets. Yesterday we had a discussion, and 
he ended by saying I was right. He loves the Pope very much 
and feels a profound veneration for him. He also has a great 
esteem for our holy Religion, but he does not wish to embrace it 
because he has seen so many priests without the true spirit; but 
also on this point he understood well when I told him the reason. 
You should see with what patience he listens to me when I speak. 
The Sisters tell him in English what he has not understood from me. 
He is very intelligent, and from the expression on my face he under¬ 
stands what I intend to say. He asks me to speak English as 

14 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

well as I can, and he helps me with some French words, saying 
he can understand. Sister Bernardina is going to make a novena 
for me to obtain the grace to speak English, and assures me she 
will obtain it. What do you think of it? I fear the day of 
judgment will arrive before I learn English. Notwithstanding, I 
trust in my good Jesus, and if He wants me to bring to His Heart 
any souls. He will also give me the grace to speak the language 
of the country I shall visit. 

A lady of New York never leaves us. She is very frank and 
active. She always speaks, in the presence of everybody, of the 
work of the Sisters, and persuades all regarding the advantages 
and benefits of our little Mission. Now I leave you with this 
little news, though badly connected, which I have been able to 
write between one wave and another. You must accompany me 
always with the practice of the most beautiful virtues, and 
especially of those you know I desire from each of you. 

May Jesus bless you and enclose you in His beautiful Heart, 
where we shall find a true Paradise on earth, and may He make 
you always most fervent in spirit, in the perfect abnegation of 
yourselves, and in the detachment from all creatures and from 
all pleasures. 

The Sisters salute you dearly. 

Your Affectionate Mother in the SS. C. J., 

Frances Saverio Cabrini. 


yorh to 3Kc 
, i8go 

A. M. G. SS. C. J. 


My beloved Daughters, 

Peace be with you and accompany you 
always and everywhere. 

August 17th, 1890. Having lost the previous night’s sleep, 
yesterday I was unable to work, but to-day I feel better, so I can 
entertain myself a little with you. My companions of the voyage 
make up their minds and agree with me to resign themselves 
willingly to suffer sea-sickness. Ann is always tranquil and quiet, 
Elizabeth feels cold and tries to keep well clothed. It is true the 
weather is cold just like an April morning, but the air is pure and 
it is a pleasure to breathe it. It is healthy and inspires sublime 
thoughts, just as a celestial ray would surround us and raise our 
minds to that God, so good, so dear, and so great. He has made so 
many beautiful things for us, poor creatures, the work of His 
omnipotent Hand. The sea continues calm and wonderfully 
tranquil. It seems to reflect the peace and the features of a soul 
adorned with sanctifying grace, which communicates to that soul 
interior peace and joy. From time to time birds come to cheer 
us. They look like swallows, but I think they are sea-birds. 
Last night I slept very well, just as though I was in my cell. I 
dreamt that I received Holy Communion. It is almost impossible 
to receive Holy Communion here at sea, and to-day, especially, I 
miss it very much, because I heard yesterday (to my great dis¬ 
pleasure) there would be a religious service held by a Protestant 
minister. But, thank God, it is now near mid-day, and no one 
has mentioned it. 

I8//1 August. I have nothing new to tell you, because the sea 
keeps so calm. It is as smooth as a table, and if we raised our 
eyes, we could scarcely believe that the ship is going so rapidly. 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

I don’t feel ill, but I am not well, and I have no desire to do any¬ 
thing. Nevertheless I am in the happy position of being able to 
meditate freely. This is a great advantage for me, because I am 
able to pass the time conversing with the sweet Spouse of my soul. 
Oh, if everyone had the knowledge of the great and beautiful 
advantages of meditation and of speaking familiarly with Jesus, if 
they could experience these heavenly joys, they would certainly 
envy our happy life (or state). Instead, how many poor creatures 
are there who do not want to know Him, in order to follow their 
own passions more freely, blinded by the smoke of the false 
pleasures of the world! In these circumstances, and at the sight 
of so many miserable and unfortunate creatures, how much better 
we are able to understand the great grace that God has given us 
by calling us to His Divine Service, or, to express it more accurate¬ 
ly, to His love. Let us love Jesus, then, my daughters, let us love 
Him very much. Jesus has ready for us many other graces, but 
He is waiting to be loved by us more and more, in order to grant 
these graces to us. On one occasion He said to one of His faithful 
servants, that if he could find souls who would love Him, as Saint 
Francis of Assisi did. He would give as many graces as He 
bestowed upon that Saint, and even greater ones. Indeed, it is 
true. Let us confess it. If graces do not descend upon us, it is 
because of our little love of God, which keeps them back from us. 
And we shall never get a true love for God unless we try to over¬ 
come our self-love and the attachment to ourselves and our own 
judgment. This morning I petted a dog to please a lady, in 
order that, after gaining her friendship, I might speak to her of 
our Holy Religion. She is a Protestant; I have already had a 
few words with her, but I find she is very much attached to 
her false religion. 

\9th August. The sea continues to be extraordinarily tranquil. 
All say they have never seen it so calm. If there were a little 
movement, there would be something new to tell you. The compli¬ 
ment I paid to the dog yesterday has had a good effect. The 
lady has been pleased to come to me and to discuss at length our 
Holy Religion. Naturally, she tries to maintain her own opinions, 
but now she doubts whether we can make satisfaction for our sins 
in this world. I would like to be a little more instructed in order 


Nezv York to Havre — August, 1890 

to explain the truths of our Holy Religion more clearly, and so be 
to her a real missionary, but what I cannot do myself will be done 
by our good Sisters at Rome, where this lady is going to pass the 
winter, and she will go to see them. For this purpose she has 
asked me for their address. I would like to convert all Protes¬ 
tants. This is a mission I have very much at heart, and you, 
my dear daughters, by the duties of your holy vocation, find 
yourselves engaged in this sublime mission of converting souls. 
Do attend to it with great zeal and fervour, and try to multiply 
the grapes of the mystic vine of Christ. You should use every 
possible means and skill in order to succeed in converting souls, 
and be certain you will never be wanting in means and knowledge 
if you love your Celestial Spouse, because the love of Jesus suggests 
a thousand ways we may use for the interests of His glory. Oh! 
how beautiful is the hymn of that fortunate spouse who can say, 
Jesus loves me, and I love Him! He is the only object of my 
thoughts. I have printed Him on my hands and in the deepest 
recess of my heart.'' Be wise, then, daughters. Let us please 
Jesus by doing more good for His mystic members, the souls 
redeemed by His great sufferings and death. 

August 20th, The sight of the sea is really enchanting, one can 
scarcely believe one’s senses. The passengers say that this is due 
to the merits of the Sisters; and it may be so because there are 
seven ladies of the Sacred Heart on board who are very good 
indeed. They are going to their Mother House in Paris to prepare 
for their Profession. Thus you may imagine with what holy 
sentiments they are animated and what beautiful souls they are. 
It is rather cool now, and we are surrounded by a temperate 
atmosphere which speaks to us of the great goodness and munifi¬ 
cence of our good and great Almighty God. From the stern of 
the ship we can see a rainbow which is continually reflecting on 
the waves, now large, now small. I often go up there to breathe 
the pure air. This morning I saw marvellous fishes of many 
colours joyfully basking in the sea, just as our souls should bask 
in the grace of God. The Protestant lady never leaves us. She 
likes to stay with us. To-day I made her a present of a small 
cross, on which may be seen the picture of Our Lady. She 
thanked me so much for this cross, and said to me, 'Tt may be 
that one day I shall be a Catholic!” Oh, daughters, pray that 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

this may be so. How happy I should be if she entered the true 
fold of Holy Church. She is a lady who has much influence, and 
therefore how she would extend our Religion to many other souls. 
Let us pray. By prayer we can obtain everything, 

21st August. The weather continues to be calm. Last night 
I saw something new and marvellous—the phosphorescence of the 
sea. It looked like so many lanterns of a thousand colours on 
the waves round the ship. Fireworks are insignificant in com¬ 
parison. These made by God are much superior. We were 
admiring this wonderful spectacle with great pleasure until eleven 
p.m., and this morning at six o’clock I was at the stern of the 
ship making my meditation surrounded by the pure fresh air, 
which strengthens and helps me much to make a beautiful medita¬ 
tion on the happy and fortunate life of those souls to whom God 
has given the grace of a Religious Vocation, as He has bestowed 
on me, notwithstanding my many infidelities and unworthiness. 
The same grace has also been granted to you, calling you to the 
mystic garden of the Mission of His Divine Heart. What good 
has He seen in us, oh, daughters! The amiable Jesus has granted 
us such a precious grace in preference to so many other beautiful 
souls, who we know would have corresponded much better to 
this grace than we have. Oh, let us animate ourselves and inflame 
our hearts with holy ardour and fervour in the faithful and labo¬ 
rious service of our beloved Jesus. Let us love Him very much. 
Let us strive to enkindle His holy love in all hearts that surround 
us. Let us offer ourselves as victims for the conversion of infidels 
and sinners who do not know or love our dearest Lord. Oh, Love 
is not loved, my daughters! Love is not loved! And how can 
we remain cold, indifferent and almost without heart at this 
thought? How can we forget ourselves in folly and nonsense? 
How can we put a limit to our affection and to our energy when 
we consider the interests of Jesus? We are Missionaries, my 
daughters, we are Missionaries of the Divine Heart. If, then, we 
do not burn with love, we do not deserve to bear the beautiful 
title which ennobles us, elevates us, makes us great, and even a 
spectacle to the angels in Heaven. 

August 2\st. At last we can perceive a little motion of the 

New York to Havre — August, 1890 


sea, but very little, only enough to break the monotony of the 
past days. Every day we have sailed from 387 to 403 miles, 
and so to-morrow night we are sure to arrive at Havre. How 
glad we are that on Sunday next we shall be able to satisfy the 
holy precept of hearing Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion 
in thanksgiving for a safe voyage, and to obtain always greater 
graces which will help us to serve our dearest Lord more fervently 
and to procure for Him greater glory. Now I begin to realize 
that I am far from you. Until now I could not persuade myself 
of the fact. I can see now the great distance that separates us. 
I am sorry I shall not be able to address you any more, not for 
one day, nor for twenty, and, in case of necessity, to comfort, 
console and even correct you, for I know that you even love my 
scolding, as you are inflamed with the great desire of advancing 
in perfection, so as to be more dear to that sweet Jesus, Who 
loves us so much, and in return for all He has done and suffered 
for us. Yes! in the Adorable Heart of Jesus I can always find 
you, with the same lively sentiments as though you were present. 
Go often, my dearest daughters, place yourselves at the feet of 
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Behold that Divine Heart! He 
is our comfort, our way and our life. Listen to Him with great 
faith and devotion. He will tell you all that I desire from you. 
He will tell you how I love to have you pure, immaculate, very 
humble, charitable, fervent, detached from all the follies of this 
world, and, above all, from your own judgment and self-love. 
He will tell you also how I desire you all to be full of zeal and 
fervour for the conversion of souls. I will also see you often in 
that Divine Heart. To Him I shall confide all your needs. I 
will speak to Him of each one of you in particular. I know the 
wants of each one of you. I will take a great interest in you 
and keep you close to my heart. You may be certain of this. 
Now I want you to pray very much for me, in order that I may 
learn to serve more faithfully my beloved Jesus, Who is so 
generous in granting His graces and blessings to His unworthy 
and miserable servant. I recommend to you the Spiritual Exer¬ 
cises. As soon as the Archbishop returns, go and pay him a 
visit for me, and give him my heartfelt homage, and tell him I 
was so sorry I could not see him before my departure. I commend 
myself to bis prayers. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

August 22nd. Behold the last day of our voyage has arrived. 
The sea is still very calm. It is a marvellous sight. From 
time to time there is a little rocking, the effect of a gentle wind, 
which one might say is playing with the ship. The ladies com¬ 
plain about it; instead, I enjoy it immensely. They go and 
shut themselves up in the cabin. At five o’clock this morning, 
or a little before, I was already on deck breathing the refreshing 
air. In making my meditation this morning, I transported myself 
in spirit among you to assist at the Holy Sacrifice and receive 
Holy Communion. You are fortunate, for you have these treasures 
in reality, but I only spiritually. I partook of your joy and 
happiness. Oh, if we could only know how to appreciate the 
great advantage of Holy Communion, how much greater would 
be our fervour to receive It well. How much more merit also 
we should gain, because in Holy Communion the same Jesus, the 
Beloved Spouse of our souls, works in us for our sanctification. 
He give thanks for us. He does all for us and for His glory. Have 
faith, my daughters, have great faith, and perform all your spiritual 
duties with that lively faith with which the Saints learned to 
please Jesus and draw down upon themselves and those around 
them very many and very great graces. 

. August 23rd. I am at Havre, on the train for Paris, and so 
I give you my greetings and leave you. Thank God for the 
perfectly good voyage. I shall not remain in Paris for more than 
two days. Pray much for me; may the good Jesus bless you 
all, and each one in particular. 

In the train at Havre, 23rd August, 1890, 

Your Affectionate Mother in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 

Francesca Saverio Cabrini. 


Siavre to Tlew york 
er, i8gi 

A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

Paris, September 4th, 1891 

My dearest Daughters, 

May the grace of Jesus be with us all and enclose 
us in His Divine Heart. 

I never felt the bitterness of the separation so much as at this 
time, my beloved daughters, when saying ” Au revoir in Heaven,’’ 
in the name of those of your Sisters who perhaps you may never 
see again. It seemed to me I had said it also for myself, though 
I don’t feel that I shall die yet. What human weakness! What 
kind of missionary spirit is this, you will say to me. It is true; 
you are right; no matter how great the distance that separates 
us, we are always near to each other, because we are ever found 
in the little space of this world, which to our small and narrow 
minds sometimes seems so big. Oh! How I would have liked 
you to have been with us when we went to visit Montmartre! 
That grand temple which was erected despite the opposition of 
the incredulous and of the Freemasons, and where stands con¬ 
spicuously on a large altar the statue of the Sacred Heart, with 
His arms outstretched. On that day of His great goodness. He 
seemed to address us in these words, 'T protect and guide you 
with My hands from one sea to the other.” Yes, my daughters, 
a small ray of faith clearly shows us the littleness of the world 
when compared with God. Why should we give such importance 
to the transitory things of this life, and allow ourselves to be 
governed by that which we should despise? Oh, if we at least 
begin to despise ourselves, what a great thing it would be for us! 
We esteem and think too much of ourselves, and that is the reason 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

why we never resolve to overcome our many miseries and raise 
ourselves to that pure sphere where the soul can easily receive 
the impressions of the Holy Spirit, and see and judge all things 
as they are in the light of faith! But, my daughters, if we were 
always animated by the spirit of faith! I asked this grace of 
Jesus while on our pilgrimage to Montmartre; I asked it for 
myself and for you. I hope this will please you I 

Our Divine Lord has blessed our voyage in an extraordinary 
way. When we arrived at Modane we met kind persons who 
had received orders by wire from the Gondrand Firm to help us. 
They took charge of everything, and took great care of our luggage; 
none of our trunks were opened, but simply marked. They 
reserved for us a special compartment in the train, and we arrived 
very comfortably at Paris in the evening. We enjoyed the sight 
of the scenery of Savoia, and recalled to our minds the principal 
events of the life of our Patron, Saint Francis de Sales. We felt 
so moved, and became so inflamed with fervour, that some thought 
they saw a relic in every spot, and even in the very waters that 
the Saint once crossed. Sister Teresa, in her great simplicity, 
was never tired of praising God for the beautiful inheritance left 
to His children. I would wish that all my good Sisters had the 
simplicity of this daughter, because it is not that of the foolish, 
which is cursed by the Holy Ghost, but rather the simplicity that 
proceeds from a pure and faithful soul, and which penetrates the 
very goodness of God and rejoices in It. Oh, my daughters, 
what an excellent thing is a pure soul detached from everything 
and from self! She can bury herself in God, Who is the source 
of all courage. Let us then become pure, simple, unpretentious, 
raised above all created things. When we have achieved this, 
we shall begin to realise that true happiness which has awaited 
us this long time and is in store for us if we wish it. 

Havre, September Sth, Saturday, We are on board at last. The 
sea is beautifully calm and promises a good voyage. Even here 
arrangements had been made for our arrival. Though it was 
almost midnight, we had persons to meet us, while vehicles, small 
and large, for ourselves and luggage, awaited us all in good order. 
We are travelling under the patronage of Saint Aloysius, who is 
certainly favouring us. In about half-an-hour everything was in 


Havre to Nezv York — September, 1891 

order. We found ourselves comfortably placed in our cabins just 
as though we were assembled in the Convent. We slept during 
the few hours that remained of the night, but at half-past five we 
rose to go to Mass. Not knowing the streets, we were accom¬ 
panied by a servant to the Church of Saint Francis, and there at 
the Altar of the Sacred Heart we had Mass, Communion and 
Benediction. From there we were accompanied back to the 
steamer, where breakfast was prepared for us, though we did not 
expect it. About nine o’clock, the Superintendent of the Com¬ 
pany who resides at Havre, visited us and introduced us to the 
Captain of the ship, asking him to allow us to go on the first-class 
deck. This favour was granted to us. In an hour’s time we 
were to start, and all the Sisters wanted to write to our Sisters 
in Italy, but they were so enchanted with the beauty of the sea, 
that I was the only one who found it possible to write a few lines. 
This I did to those to whom I owe gratitude and who favoured 
me with pecuniary and other help: that is, to our Monsignor 
and Father, that he might give you news of ourselves, and also 
to the Bishop of Lodi and Archbishop of Milan. But they were 
only a few lines written very quickly, and I do not know if they 
understood them, but they manifested my goodwill and the grati¬ 
tude I feel towards those who look kindly on our Institute, and 
who assist it for the glory of Jesus and His Divine Heart. The 
steamer setting sail, we were all on deck viewing this beautiful 
port and watching the waving of handkerchiefs and hats. Presently 
we were in the Channel, the Sisters all happy and feeling well, and 
hoping that the whole of the voyage would pass off as smoothly 
as this. 

Sunday, September 6th, This morning all the Sisters woke up 
very ill. Some of them thought they were going to die. Sister 
Cherubina lost her speech. Sister Egidea was almost in convul¬ 
sions. All the others were sea-sick. It was a scene of perfect 
desolation. I alone was able to go round and comfort some and 
encourage others. Those who trusted in my words arose and 
tried to eat, and presently were looking quite well. The others, 
who thought that death was at hand, stayed in bed awaiting it 
without opening their mouths the whole day. As for Sister Egidea, 
not being able to find any remedy and not even the doctor, I had 

24 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

to have recourse to one of my usual tactics, viz., a good scolding, 
and immediately the convulsions disappeared. The effect was 
such that I became ill myself, and had to be very careful. At 
the start, seeing how nicely accommodated we were, we thought 
we might be able to go through our spiritual exercises, but the 
poor Sisters were not able to meditate. Sister Cherubina thought 
she really was dying, and was not even able to say “My Jesus, 
Mercy.'' They have become like little children. And if I had 
to depend on them, in their present condition, I should lose all 
courage myself, but I expect they will be much better to-morrow, 
and trust they will be able to be on deck where they can enjoy 
looking at the beautiful fish and other wonders of nature, which 
elevate the soul, and enable it to meditate on the infinite power, 
wisdom and goodness of God, Who created those things for our 
delight and comfort. On deck, to-day, I have only the company of 
Sister Agape, who is stronger than all, and Sister Mary Josephine, 
who, being obedient, eats, and so spends the time nicely and 
happily. They are followed by Sister Deomira and Sister Mary 
Gesuina. Sister Salesia with great virtue goes about from one 
cabin to the other continually, in order to spare me, but even 
she is not feeling very well. Sister Stephen, after a great effort, 
thought she would like to dress, but put her habit on the wrong 
way and came on deck. We felt so sorry for her that we took 
her back to her cabin. 

Monday, September 7th. To-day all are feeling well, and can 
at least get up and take some refreshment. The sea is beautifully 
calm, and if it continues thus we shall be truly fortunate. The 
head steward is very attentive to us, and sees that the stewards 
do all they can for us and that we need nothing. 

Tuesday, September 8th. A strong wind that throws the vessel 
up and down, tells us that this day is going to be a great day, the 
birth of Her who was to be the Mediator between God and man, 
our loving Mother. It is a pity that of the five priests on board, 
not one of them is able to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice. We 
procured some altar breads when at Havre, but uselessly, so we 
must satisfy at least spiritually the spark of divine love that is 
in us, and absorb ourselves in contemplation of the great good 

Havre to New York — September, 1891 


that to-day comes to us through Mary. Mary is most holy, the 
meek dove of God in this universal deluge of corruption which 
frightens and depresses us. Mary with the flowery branch of the 
olive appears in our midst and seeks to give us hope. Adorned 
with that ineffable beauty of original innocence, she infuses in us 
great confidence, and makes us feel sweetly that she will present 
herself before God and obtain for us mercy and salvation. 

What an admirable model we have in Mary. She is not yet 
three years old, and yet she abandons father, mother, country 
and friends, everything, indeed, and flies to God with the swift 
wings of a dove. She takes refuge in the Temple, a figure of our 
convents. She, this privileged Virgin, accomplishes, in the Temple 
of God, all that from her birth she had vowed to God. Mary sees 
herself rich in grace, fears nothing, and still she flees from' the 
world and retires. Her profound humility is like a thick veil 
which she uses to hide herself and her gifts. She seeks solitude 
and silence, the solitary dove, because she desires to unite herself 
intimately with Him Who is Her only love. Mary will certainly 
have exclaimed, “How beautiful are Thy tabernacles!“ My 
God, may all souls burn and languish for Thee! My spirit and 
flesh are in Thee, O, my God, and my life! O, my God, Thou art 
my inheritance. Thou art my glory, my joy, my crown! How 
promptly Mary answered the Divine call, and we? How have 
we corresponded with the call of God? How do we correspond 
with the grace of God now? What is our virtue, our conduct? 
What are our efforts, our generosity? Mary knew her mission, 
and accomplished it. And what do we do? We also understand 
what our mission is, obedience shows the way, but do we follow it 
faithfully? Perhaps we allow ourselves to be carried away by 
self-love, our corrupted nature, human respect, pride, tepidity. 
O, daughters, do not lose time. Let us follow faithfully the 
footsteps of Mary, our sweet Mother. Let us conquer ourselves, 
cost what it may, and we shall have joy in our hearts and peace 
in our souls! Let us strive, O daughters, to conquer ourselves, 
and Mary will cover us with her mantle of virtues; then we shall 
not feel any trouble in making our journey. Let humility, daugh¬ 
ters, humility and great charity, detachment from everything, from 
ourselves, accompany us everywhere. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Wednesday, September 9th. Yesterday, at eleven a.m., there arose 
a great wind that caused the steamer to roll like Saint Peter's 
boat. Some of the Sisters, frightened, asked me if it were a 
storm. I told them that the sea was comparatively calm, and 
that something greater was wanting to create a storm. At this 
assurance they became quiet. The weather continued so the 
whole day and before the evening the Sisters were quite tired of 
the swaying; so we withdrew to a small place on deck near our 
cabins, and there, rather than sit down, we threw ourselves on 
the floor. We were alone, however, and it was pardonable, 
though even if we had not wished to throw ourselves down, we 
should have fallen. The place we occupied was quite near the 
kitchen, where the Bursar and the Head Steward could see and 
hear us and they were pleased to hear us praying, regarding this 
as an augury of fine weather. Being the Feast of Our Lady, we 
could not allow it to pass without some spiritual exercise. I had 
been ill also, but, in comparison with the others, my indisposition 
was nothing. I was, however, able to stay on deck in the fresh 
air, and as no one spoke on account of the movement of the boat, 
I was able to join you in spirit and celebrate the Feast of Mary 
Bambina, the infant Mary. Prayer is a great comfort and works 
truly. It is the life of the soul, though its effects are not always 
visible. Of the many graces that proceed from prayer, some are 
known to us and others not; but this does not prevent its enrich¬ 
ing our souls. All the glory of the King's daughter is within. Of 
her preciously embroidered dress, of her immense riches, we see 
but the fringe. In Heaven, prayer will be explained in all its 
pomp and majesty. Pray, then, daughters, pray with unlimited 
faith in every need, in every difficulty, and do not become weary 
if in our short lives we do not see the effects of our prayers. Have 
faith, lively faith, resting always assured that not one of our 
supplications will be rejected. Oh, faith! how beautiful, great, 
powerful! Faith produces hope, and prayer is at once the suppli¬ 
cating hope. ‘Tn te Domine speravi, non confundar in seternum." 
Oh, hope of Heaven, thou obtainest so much when we think our 
prayers obtain nothing, and when our hope seems a delusion. No, 
our prayers are never in vain, but everything is disposed of by the 
wisdom of the Omniscient God. Confide in God above all, hope, 
and you will not be confounded. Repeat often, “In te," etc.. 


Havre to New York — September, 1891 

and, saying it from your heart, open wide the wings of trustful 
hope, rejoice in the Spirit, and live in holy joy. You, the elect 
spouses of Jesus, the true friends of the Divine Heart! Be 
assured that not one of your prayers will be in vain, for if the 
Divine Heart cannot grant them, who can? May your joyful 
countenances make those around you happy! 

This morning the weather is not good, but all want to move 
about, which is a sign of good weather. In fact, at nine a.m. a 
calm prevailed which rejoiced all. The Sisters gathered round me, 
asking me if it would continue, and I told them if they humbled 
themselves profoundly for our involuntary sloth, God would give 
us good weather and a calm sea. They obeyed, and now it is 
almost evening, and the weather continues beautiful, and the 
steamer is sailing at such a rate that we shall arrive in port by 
Saturday. Oh, obedience, how dear to the Heart of Jesus! 
Obedient souls delight His Heart Divine. They are His Kingdom, 
His heaven. His glory. To them He communicates His lights. 
His gifts. His graces, and often He admits them to His secrets. 
On them He sheds the rays of His countenance, and renders them 
perfectly happy in their state. Through obedience, Jesus 
accomplishes His greatest designs and works on this earth. To 
our dear Lord, these acts of His Spouses are more gratifying than a 
thousand sacrifices made from caprice and one’s own will. Jesus 
loves to stay with obedient Religious. He guides them with His 
wisdom, fills them with His treasures and comforts them with His 
abundant graces. Oh, happy obedience! Do love this virtue, 
dear daughters, let it be your favourite. If you are obedient, 
you will be true Missionaries, you will be blessed abundantly by 
Jesus and you will save a great number of souls who await your 
work. None of you should work from self-will. You should 
have no thought contrary to obedience, but submit as so many 
little lambs. This is the secret of obtaining peace, and of obtain¬ 
ing great graces and blessings for the Institute. Love virtue, 
but obedience and humility above all, because with obedience 
you have given what is yours to God. Be obedient and your 
sacrifice will be entire, you will be true Spouses of Christ, you 
will enjoy Heaven in anticipation. Do not have any will of your 
own, and then you will not make your Superiors suffer. Why 
-should you suffer for the devil ? Why should you make a purga- 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cahrini 

tory for yourselves and make others suffer? Why lose peace 
and make everything desolate on account of your own fancies and 
caprices? Submit yourself to the sweet yoke of obedience and 
you will become a haven of Christ, a haven of peace for all your 

Thursday, September \0th. Last night the weather threatened 
to break and the Sisters asked me if we were going to have good 
weather, because if it were bad they had made up their minds 
where to go and how to spend their time. I told them that if 
we humbled ourselves profoundly for our faults, holding ourselves 
to blame for all the acts of frailty that sea-sickness caused us to 
commit, God would be propitious to us. At first some refused to 
acknowledge that they were in fault, saying it was the sea that 
caused so much discomfort, but remembering the promise they 
had made of suffering willingly for the holy cause of the Mission, 
they felt themselves obliged to humble themselves profoundly, 
and our dear Jesus in the truly paternal goodness of His Heart 
granted us good weather, and so we are all assembled on the first- 
class deck. You see, humility works wonders. All expected bad 
weather, and, instead, we have fine weather. Let us learn, dear 
daughters, to become humble, because God loves the humble, 
whilst He resists the proud. If we elevate ourselves through 
pride, God will withdraw from us, with the result that we fall 
into dense darkness. If we are humble. He will approach us, 
console us and hear our prayer, and He will send us away justified. 
No, daughters, God does not make the humble wait long. He 
runs, flies to satisy their holy and most excellent desires. It 
often happens that, drawn by a humble soul. He gives what He 
has not been asked for. Be humble, daughters dear, the Sacred 
Heart has prepared many graces in the abundance of His treasures 
for the Institute. Be humble, His graces are hanging on a thread 
only. If we are truly humble and simple, these graces will be 
showered upon us. If we are proud, full of ourselves. He will 
withdraw His graces. In vain shall we then ask—for He with¬ 
draws Himself from the proud and haughty. 

But now we must return to the sea. How beautiful and majestic 
it is in its immensity! It is as serene as a soul in peace with God 
and its neighbour. The soul thus possessed is a model of peace. 


Havre to New York — September^ 1891 

though it is working hard all day, and appears to be burning with 
an ardent fire, which spurs her on to holy action. The mild waves 
of the sea reflect the rays of the sun in a wonderful manner, some¬ 
times like silver, sometimes like precious stones in many beautiful 
colours. I should love the Sisters to suggest some appropriate 
phrases depicting the beauty by which we are surrounded, but all 
have lost the compass, and the knowledge they once seemed to 
have has vanished. 

Sister Mary Gesuina is very jolly and keeping quite happy. 
She has recourse to '‘Santa Reparata,” and she does really make 
amends, for Sister cut her finger very deeply the other day while 
cutting bread for a poor German Sister, of another Institute, who 
is travelling third-class in great poverty. As ailments at sea are 
easily cured, so also the cuts of Sister were readily cured, and she 
was very happy. Sister Mary Josephine cannot bear the big 
waves, so when they rise she lies down and eats a piece of an apple, 
thus quietly forgetting the sea. She would have described everything 
beautifully, but finding it was more advantageous to remain quiet, 
she says, "All who want to know about the sea, let them come 
and see for themselves." Sister Agape is the captain of the sea: 
she is here, there and everywhere, helping everyone. Sister Teresa 
has remained two days in bed, so as not to see the Sisters suffering. 
She thought she had lost her head and touched it to see if it were 
still on her shoulders. 

There is a professor of the University of Washington, a Mission¬ 
ary Apostolic, who inquires regularly about us, but the only com¬ 
plaint we have to make is that out of the five priests on board, 
not one of them can give us Holy Communion. Every time we 
come on deck we look for a place to be alone, but after a few 
minutes we are surrounded by the ladies of the first-class deck, 
who follow us with their chairs. They appear to be nice people, 
and to like the Catholic Religion. The Captain and other pas¬ 
sengers are most anxious to make us comfortable. All delight 
in seeing us happy and free from sickness. After all, happiness 
follows us everywhere. 

We are off the shores of Newfoundland, and the Sisters told 
Sister Teresa that here she could gather some cabbages, so she 
quickly dressed and came with her apron to get them to make 
some Italian soup, as we are tired of the French bouillon. Some of 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

our Sisters who never usually think of food, do nothing else but 
speak about it, not finding anything appetizing. Sister Agape and I 
eat well—in fact, we are quite unmortified. We praise God for 
all, whilst some suffer; some keep themselves up, and thus we 
help keep up the ones who suffer. 

To-day it was lovely and fine. Some of the Sisters wanted to 
write, but, though the sea is calm and the movement is hardly 
perceptible, still they dislike these slight rockings or swayings. 
The first sea voyage is always a little difficult. When in three 
weeks time we again embark for Central America, it will be easier. 
If you could see the sea at this moment! It is an immense surface 
of smoothness, and of an enchanting blue, so calm now. A fact 
incredible after the stormy days we have experienced. One 
hardly sees a lake so calm and placid. To-day everyone of us 
joined in meditation on the gifts of a humble and pacified soul, 
the beloved daughter of God. The sea is a lively image of her. 
How immense and yet tranquil and quiet! A sea which can be 
so turbulent, yet how submissive when subject to the command 
of God omnipotent. Our dear Sisters continue to humble them¬ 
selves, seeing how it pleases our dear Lord. With humility we can 
obtain immense graces, for humility moves the heart of God, and 
this unexpected and extraordinary tranquillity of the sea is a great 
grace. Oh, would that God were really appeased; let us no longer 
offend Him. Do not arouse His wrath by infidelity to grace. Let us 
trust in the help of our good God, for of ourselves we can do 
nothing, not even can we pronounce with merit His adorable 
name. Let us endeavour to be faithful to His holy help, through 
the merits of Jesus Christ and with the help of His sweet powerful 
Mother. May she cover us with her holy and spiritual mantle, and 
make us worthy to serve our loving Spouse faithfully, and obtain 
for us the graces we most need. God promised to help us, and He 
does help us. We promised to serve Him, but we do not serve Him 
with the perfection and energy demanded of us. At times we are 
indolent, again we do not always have pure intentions, without 
which we serve ourselves our self-love, vanity and creatures, but 
not God. Do begin at last to serve faithfully our loving and faithful 


Havre to Nezv York — September, 1891 

September Wth, Friday. The weather is still fine, the sea is as 
smooth as a table, the air light and invigorating. All the Sisters 
are feeling well, and in this sweet calm all unanimously decided to 
make their meditation, uniting themselves spiritually wdth the 
Sisters in Italy, for at this very hour all the Sisters should be at 
meditation, or, rather, at the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 
One of us, who desired very much to be near the Tabernacle, saw 
in a dream a great procession of Saints who were coming with the 
Holy Eucharist to gratify her great desire. But, only a few days 
longer, and we shall be able to receive our dear Lord in our little 
chapel in 43rd Street, New York. He is the Beloved of our souls, 
the Elect amongst thousands, Who consoles, comforts, strengthens, 
vivifies and sanctifies us, freeing us from our miseries through His 
infinite graces and unlimited goodness. 

Last evening a Protestant minister gathered together as many 
persons as he could of the first-class and held a meeting—what 
the English call a conference—to collect money for the poor 
sailors' children. It is really sad that so many follow the devil 
and not Christ. We are so cowardly, that, whether it be from 
human respect or some other motive, we fear to speak of Christ 
in public. We see virtue derided, and w^e remain silent. Why 
are we so cowardly? We should strengthen our faith in an 
endeavour to imbue others with the spirit of Christ and to become 
animated ourselves with the true charity of the Divine Heart, 
and thus proclaim the truth. Do not be afraid of offending those 
who approach us, or of being importunate when speaking the 
truths of our faith. No, if we are filled with the sweet kind 
charity of Christ, coupled with strength and energy, no one will 
take offence but rather be conquered. Yes, if there is true charity, 
the most Sacred Heart will be honoured. Sometimes a person 
will not speak deliberately of our Holy Religion, but praises vice 
rather than virtue, because such an one has lost his bearings, 
but if it were possible to find one individual who, with the generous 
charity and the sweetness of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, could 
introduce the subject of our Faith gently, correct certain wrong 
ideas, little by little such a good person would conquer that soul 
and reunite it with that secure trunk of truth from which uncon¬ 
sciously it has become detached. If such a spirit is necessary 
everywhere, what must be the necessity of it for those nations 

32 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

who once were profoundly religious, and now, through pride, 
ambition and a false sense of freedom, have allowed themselves 
to be carried away and to do what they do not want to do. 
People on board are already saying, ‘‘Why are these Missionaries 
going to America, while in Europe there are worse despisers of 
religion and faith?’' These words went to my very heart. If 
I were not wounded by such expressions, I should not be a true 
daughter of the Church nor would I have any love for my country. 
Such expressions dishonour nations, which in olden times flourished 
amidst true and profoundly religious sentiments. 

Do begin, daughters, to humble yourselves, invest yourselves 
with true, solid virtue, become fervent and true lovers of the 
Sacred Heart, repairing ingratitude and making supplication for 
ourselves and for our brethren who live in disastrous times, because 
deprived of the Faith. Learn to humble and sacrifice yourselves, 
but with a real sacrifice, accompanied by a true denial of your¬ 
selves. Let us sacrifice and immolate ourselves for our dear 
brethren, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ; those who 
through ignorance are losing the inheritance of the children of 
God and making themselves unhappy for all eternity. Seek to 
get them out of this precipice by sacrifice. 

Saturday, September \2th. At last, with the aid of your fervent 
prayers, we have arrived at the last day of our voyage. If you 
could see the sea to-day, you would not believe it was the same 
treacherous element which frightens so many. It does not seem 
like the sea at all; it is so smooth, that the sun is reflected in it; 
it is so placid, that one might conceive that the sea never moved. 
I do not remember such good weather even last year, when I was 
almost tired of the tranquillity of the sea because it was so calm. 
Such fine weather is supposed to be the forerunner of a storm, 
but before this arises we shall have already arrived in port, and 
so our Sisters who are destined for Nicaragua will not be dis¬ 
couraged to undertake a new voyage. Seeing that prayers are 
so efficacious in obtaining a prosperous voyage, I shall inform you 
of our leaving for Nicaragua, so that you may obtain, by your 
prayers and sacrifices, blessings for that voyage also. 

We are going towards the region of heat which I cannot bear at 
sea, but, with your prayers, why should I fear anything? And 


Havre to New York — September, 1891 

for a Missionary, however difficult the voyage, it is always on that 
small plank that she must seek to extend the kingdom of love of 
Jesus. Therefore another four thousand miles is very little after 
all. You pray, and that will suffice. I will do the rest, giving 
myself up to the Heart of Jesus, He Who is our Good, our All, 
Our Preserver, our Master, Friend and Spouse. Pray, pray, O 
daughters, and make generous sacrifices, and then you will 
see how many graces the good Heart of Jesus will give you. All 
the sisters are well, happy and contented. They are beginning 
to like the sea, but perhaps this is because they are about to leave 
it soon. Flowever, a Missionary must not attach herself to any- 
thing, but must sacrifice herself and all her inclinations. Sister 
Veronica sees now and then some very big fish. She thinks they 
are whales and sharks. Sister Alacoque talks much of her mission 
every night, particularly of the school and children. Sister 
Gesuina makes every one happy. Sister Cherubina recovered her 
speech two days ago. The sea made such an impression on her 
at first, that she lost her speech and thought she would never be 
strong again. She dislikes leaving the sea now. Sister Pia and 
Sister Chiara having rested quietly in their cabins are now quite 
bright and happy. Sister Diomira suffered much, but has always 
been able to keep going. Sisters Pierina and Angelica and some 
others are sunburnt, having spent a great deal of time on deck. 
Sister Salesia has acted as infirmarian, assisted by Sister Agape. 
Yesterday Sister Josephine began her description of the voyage 
to send to her brother, but I am sending it first to you, so that 
you may enjoy it, as I have not time myself to send you an account 
of my own. All the Sisters ask me to thank you for your prayers. 
They are far away in body, but not in spirit. As true daughters 
of the Mother House, they are still very attached to it. All think 
of you, and are exciting themselves to great virtue. On the 
second day of the sea voyage the Sisters were feeling so bad that 
they acted more like children than religious, which fact dis¬ 
heartened me so greatly that I almost repented of having chosen 
such subjects for so difficult a mission, but I am happy now that 
I did not disclose my feelings, for the Sisters at length are feeling 
well and are really good, virtuous and sensible women quite 
willing to undertake any arduous work, for which they will be 
rewarded. They will be able to show themselves true daughters 

34 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

of the Church by their true attachment and holy efforts to procure 
the glory of God. Tm not sure of writing to you again before 
we reach port, but I will write again from New York and from 
Manresa, and hope to have much consoling news for you, more 
so as we are celebrating the centenary of St. Aloysius, under whose 
protection we are undertaking our work. This dear Saint has 
always been powerful especially during this year of his centenary, 
as we have experienced so fully. 

The Sisters salute you affectionately and unite with you in 
prayer, sacrifice and work in the Heart of Jesus and beneath the 
mantle of Mary. 

May the Grace of God be with you all. 

Your affectionate Mother in the 

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 

Frances Saverio Cabrini. 

On the ocean, 

IZth September, 1891. 


to l^icata^ucL 

OctoLet. 1891 

A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

On the ocean, 

Thursday, October ISth, 1892. 

My very dear Daughters, 

As you are well aware, from the account of my last voyage from 
Europe to America, we reached New York on September 13th, 
where our Sisters, with many good benevolent and affectionate 
persons, awaited us with indescribable anxiety. The day follow¬ 
ing my arrival was the anniversary of my religious profession, a 
dear and memorable day for me, and for all my good daughters, 
who look upon whatever concerns me as theirs. We made a great 
feast of it. We had two Masses, and a sermon by Father Bandini, 
appropriate to the work of our Mission, treating of the solemnity 
of the exaltation of the Holy Cross. In the evening Benediction 
of the Blessed Sacrament was to have been given by His Grace 
the Archbishop, as he so kindly promised, but, owing to his 
manifold duties, he was obliged to delegate the Rector of the 
parish in which our House of 43rd Street is situated. Monsignor 
Brann, who was assisted by several priests who came to celebrate 
our arrival. His Grace came to see us the next day, and, with 
paternal kindness, consoled us greatly. 

The following days I visited the various Houses of the Mission. 
I went first to Manresa with the twenty-nine Sisters who came 
here with me from Europe. All the Sisters were charmed with 
the beauty of the villa, which is situated on one of the best sites of 
the Hudson River. The order and the tranquillity of the House 
pleased them still more. The chapel annexed to it inspires one 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

with great devotion and recollection, and invites us to that kind 
of contemplation which makes us feel vividly the Divine Goodness 
of our Celestial Spouse, and makes us understand deeply His will, 
infusing into us the courage necessary to fulfil it faithfully. Every 
time I find myself at Manresa I think that, perhaps, when I have 
worked sufficiently for the Institute, this will be the place of my 
retreat to prepare myself for my journey to eternity. But this 
is an illusive dream, a childish feeling. Let us leave to Providence 
all thought of our future. Let us work, day by day, in the Lord's 
vineyard, seeking the greater glory of God, in perfect detachment 
from everything, which is of very great importance to ourselves, 
for often without our knowing it, we are the enemies of our own 
souls, troubling ourselves about many things, whilst “Porro unum 
est necessarium.” Most of the Sisters remained for some days at 
Manresa in order to have a rest. 

The 21st September came as a dear and moving feast. Seven 
of our American postulants, who for a year had given excellent 
proof of their good spirit, were preparing to put off the white 
veil of the Postulant in order to take the Habit of the Institute. 
His Grace came to see us again and, vested in his ceremonial robes, 
to give them the Veil (or the Holy Habit). He performed the 
ceremony according to our ritual with impressive decorum and 
devotion. He gave an impressive allocution, and his sweet 
paternal words sank deeply into the heart of each Religious. To 
you, who, like me, have often assisted at these beautiful and ever 
new ceremonies, it is needless to speak of the lively sentiments 
they arouse in all, or to tell you that we spent a happy and 
heavenly day in community. Even His Grace, in congratulating 
us afterwards, said that the ceremony was always as impressive 
as if it were being performed for the first time. In spite of all 
I had to do before my departure, the time flew without my 
realising it, and without a day's rest. 

The 10th of October arrived in haste, and everything was ready 
for the continuation of the voyage. The state rooms were visited 
and the places destined for the Sisters prepared for them. On 
the eve of our departure, the Archbishop, who is most kind and 
shows so much affection for our Institute, came again to console 
us with his presence, and to comfort and encourage us on the new 
journey that awaits us. He gave us one of those heartfelt sermons 

New York to Nicaragua — October, 1891 


which sink deeply into the soul, and then gave Benediction of the 
Blessed Sacrament, which was preceded by the “Ave Maris Stella’' 
and ‘‘Tantum Ergo,” and sung with great fervour by the Sisters 
who were leaving. This was followed by a prayer to Our Lady. 
His Grace afterwards entertained us very kindly, and his holy 
words were a source of great comfort, whilst he assured us that 
he would pray for us every day during the voyage so that Our 
Lady and the Angels might accompany us. His secretary, Mon¬ 
signor McDonnell, assured us also of his most fervent prayers and 
wishes for a prosperous voyage, and hoped it would be perfectly 
happy. During the same day, till late in the evening, many good 
and pious persons came to say good-bye and to wish us a successful 
voyage. Even the next day some came on board the steamer to 
pay their compliments and express kind wishes for our journey. 

But while we were talking with great animation, the hour of 
departure arrived. At ten a.m. we were on board the steamer 
which is called the New York, of the Pacific Mail Line. The agent 
was very good and assigned a state room for every two Sisters 
and a separate one for me. The berths are not so small as 
those of the Transatlantic steamers, but rather large and com¬ 
fortable. The state rooms open into the parlour salons, so that 
the Sisters can go from their berths to the lounge room without 
danger of falling, even when it is rough and stormy, for we do not 
expect this voyage to be as smooth and as beautiful as the last, 
seeing that we are dealing with a new Mission which needs great 
graces and therefore new sacrifices to render us more worthy of it. 
The Sisters were accompanied by many kind persons. A distin¬ 
guished and excellent Irishman presented us, and warmly recom¬ 
mended us, to the Captain. 

At one p.m. the anchor was raised and we glided slowly out of 
the port, while the Sisters and friends waved their handkerchiefs. 
We also did the same for about a quarter of an hour, until the 
distance made Sisters and things imperceptible, and, as the steamer 
steered further down the bay, we lost sight of everyone and found 
ourselves abandoned to the relentless waves. Till evening we 
coasted along the shore, which we should have done all night, I 
believe, had not a terrific storm arisen which threatened to dash 
the boat and all it contained to pieces. At one moment the boat 
rolled from side to side with such force as to threaten to capsize. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cahrini 

The Sisters could hardly keep in their berths. I arose and dressed 
in haste to save them all, hoping at least to die together. Our 
iuggage rolled about in all directions, like so many animated 
objects. There was nothing to stop it. No one could keep 
still, not even if seated on the floor. The sea swelled in an extraor¬ 
dinary way. The waves formed mountains as if by magic— 
one could see, as it were, deep valleys between them. The 
steamer seemed lost amidst these mountainous precipices of water. 
The wind worked havoc on deck, and threatened to split the 
cabins, but limited its caprice to the doctor's only. The following 
day the poor doctor had to wear somebody else's clothes, his own 
having been drenched and ruined. The Captain had all the sailors 
and staff at work as a last resource to save all on the boat, and he 
only succeeded by steering the vessel towards mid-ocean and 
sailing across it for more than a day. In the meantime the sea 
became calm, and then we were able to resume the ship’s proper 
route, from which we had only sailed forty miles. But, God be 
praised! For during the terrible storm, as the Captain told us, 
no one was lost or hurt. During this tempest not one of the 
Sisters was frightened, all remained quietly in bed, ready to perish 
quietly, but under the bed-clothes. I stayed up all night in the 
state room, from which I could see the Sisters resting, and thus 
we mutually encouraged one another. I was attentive, however, 
to every movement, for, if there had been any danger, they would 
have been obliged to dress and try to save themselves when called 
upon. In the meantime I was praying to Our Lady of the Holy 
Rosary, in whose month we were voyaging. Then I lighted the 
candle of Our Lady of Loretto, so efficacious against sea storms, 
and our Most Holy Mother did really come to our aid, delivering 
us from the extreme danger which surrounded us I 

Oh, how good is Mary! How sweet and amiable. The earth 
is full of her goodness. All the centuries have witnessed the 
wonderful and merciful works of her blessed hands. Do we not 
frequently experience how she evidently loves and protects us? 
Like a mother full of compassion for each one of us, she pitied us 
who, in our danger, invoked her with faith. Oh, what joy to be 
children of such a Mother! We shall always recall the wonders 
of her love! We then prayed to Saint Aloysius to send Angels 
from Heaven to save us from the dangers we thought to be 


New York to Nicaragua — October, 1891 

imminent, and he, having compassion on us, who undertake all 
our works in honour of his centenary, sent us immediate aid, and 
now we enjoy a very quiet, calm and smooth sea. Yesterday 
the sea looked like a soul, agitated by remorse and pride, who 
never finds peace with God. 

To-day is the 15th of October, the Feast of Saint Theresa, and 
this Saint, who had sufferings of all kinds and had long and painful 
experiences, has obtained for us a most beautiful day: a clear 
sky, a vast horizon and a pure gentle breeze. One could imagine 
that we were at Heaven’s gates, from whence emanates a sweet 
comfort to enable us, as it were, to partake of the grand and 
beautiful feast which Jesus gives His Beloved Spouse. There is 
no priest on board, so no Mass, but we have been able to com¬ 
municate spiritually with great faith. That fortunate prisoner 
had reason to rejoice at the thought that she once held Jesus in 
her heart, and entering, as it were, into the Mystical Tabernacle 
of her Soul, rejoiced as if she really held her Beloved. We, 
happier still, have received Him many times, and it is only five 
days ago that our hearts beat together with His, and that He 
worked with us and was given to us as Holy Viaticum. To-day, 
then, it was not difficult to draw ourselves around Jesus in order 
that He might charm our hearts, as He once pierced the heart of 
the Seraph of Carmel. 

To-day we shall meet a steamer which will take our letters, so 
I shall write a few lines to New York and Italy, and so contradict 
as soon as possible those rumours which have led you to believe 
we all perished in the storm. The danger was indeed real, but 
we were all calm, tranquil and safe, trusting in our Jesus and the 
Mission to which He Himself was conducting us in the company 
of the Most Blessed Virgin and Saint Aloysius, patron of the new 
foundation. It is evident that we are advancing with great 
strides toward the torrid zone, though we have not yet reached 
it. Though we were obliged to put on lighter clothes, we still 
feel the heat greatly. The breeze, however, is refreshing and 

Yesterday, October 15th, we expected to meet a steamer which 
would take on our letters, but the whole day passed without one 
coming in sight. This morning at seven o’clock we sighted a 

40 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cahrini 

little island, called '‘Fortune Island,’' whence came a tug-boat 
called Columbus to take the mail. 

After some days on the high seas and, moreover, after experi¬ 
encing so many dangers, it was a great joy to see land, and we 
saluted the island with great pleasure. The Captain, always so 
good and kind to us, gave us a good position in order that we 
might have a fine view. I strained my eyes to discover all over 
that island some steeple, so as to salute with double fervour Jesus 
in the Blessed Sacrament, for it was Friday, and at this hour all 
our Sisters were making their Hour of Adoration. O, you dear 
daughters, so fortunate to be so near the Living Centre of life. 
Blessed are you who feel His Heart beat, who hear His ardent 
words which fill you with great strength and instil into you a 
powerful realisation of the necessity to correspond with the Love 
of our Beloved Giver. Therefore, give love for love by the 
practice of your holy resolutions, which you have made to be 
generous in sacrifice for the glory of God, by controlling yourselves, 
always humbling yourselves with all your might, and loving, with 
true affection, humiliations; by being obedient till death, seeking 
the perfection of obedience, even to the extent of being so careful 
as to avoid the slightest transgressions of the orders of your 
Superior, who speaks to you in the name of God; by being 
charitable, self-sacrificing, willingly abandoning all your own 
inclinations in order to make others feel easy, especially your 
Sisters; seeking to give consolation to your Superiors by perfect 
renunciation of your will, which you left at the door of the Convent, 
while, with the cross, you entered saying, “I bring peace, I come 
to offer sacrifice to the Lord.” Oh, yes, my daughters, create 
peace, sacrificing yourselves always, and never be the cause of 
sorrow to your Superiors, thrusting thorns into their hearts by 
your conduct, by your own ideas, which, however lovely they 
may appear to you, are but branches of a poisonous self-love. 
The more you are attached to them, the more poisonous they are 
to you. 

Renounce yourselves entirely if you wish to enjoy peace, and 
let those who are around you partake of your joy, and thus also 
have the desire, when occasion arises, of co-operating for the 
salvation of souls. Since I started writing, we have sailed a very 
great distance and have reached another island called Castel, 

Nezv York to Nicaragua — October, 1891 


and we, just as fortunate as you, were able to salute Jesus in the 
Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, attracting Him to us with 
the most fervent Spiritual Communion. This morning, October 
17th, at five a.m., we entered the Caribbean Sea, after having 
passed the island of Saint Dominic, which we were not able to 
see owing to the darkness. We were told that this sea is always 
very rough and stormy, but the Good God deigned to show us that 
He is the Master of Land and Sea and that all the elements are 
subject to His Omnipotent Hand, and so He gave us the storm 
where all expected the calm, and gave us the calm when we ex¬ 
pected the storm. 

To-day is the Feast of one of our most powerful patrons, 
Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, and she, surely, in her ineffable 
enjoyment of the Divine Heart, has obtained for us a drop of that 
celestial and sublime dew, and calmed the sea through which we 
are now passing. She has changed the sky to another hue, clear 
and blue, smooth and beautiful, in which fly gracefully a number 
of very white birds, which look like Angels descending to tell us, 
in their mute but eloquent language, of the feast being celebrated 
in honour of that stainless Marguerite, purpled by the flaming 
rays of Charity which burn in the Heart of Jesus. What a marvel 
of grace God has wrought in the heart of His beloved! Let us 
also be faithful to the operations of the Holy Spirit in our souls! 
Let our minds be pure, disinterested, humble, pliant, and then 
we shall see what beautiful and wonderful things the Holy Ghost 
will work in our souls. Even the Angelic Spirits would fall into 
an ecstasy of wonder at the marvelous workings of the Holy Spirit. 
It is a work worthy of the Infinite Wisdom and Goodness of God. 
This Spirit works within us, inspires us, instructs us, encourages 
us, and comforts us with His abundant and perennial lights, with 
His promptings and impulses in every holy work. Finally, He 
surrounds us with loving solicitude in keeping us within the 
enclosure of His eternal and infinite love. 

Let us seek the right and sure path of perfection, encouraging 
ourselves in true Charity towards God and towards our neighbour. 
The one should never be separated from the other. We should 
endeavour to attract to the Sacred Heart all those who approach 
us; that is the object of the life of the Missionary, the Spouse of 
Jesus Christ. Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque saw beautifully 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

engraved in the most Sacred Heart of Jesus the names of those 
who sought to make It known, and the Divine Heart made known 
to her that these should never be blotted out. The fire of His 
love is great and wants to spread, and those souls who endeavour 
to extend It are loved in a very special manner and filled with 
celestial graces. Which one of us would not like to be that soul? 
Otherwise we should be like the foolish Virgins, who, for want of 
reflection, became unworthy of seeing their Spouse and entering 
with Him into the marriage feast. Let us always have our lamps 
burning, never weary, and, as soon as we see our oil is diminishing, 
let us go to the Fountain of Life with profound humility to renew 
ourselves and to gain new courage. Little time remains, so let 
us hurry and work, for the reward is already prepared, and will 
be in the measure that we have prepared it. Jesus is with us. 
We can do all things with Him. By ourselves we fall, but with 
God all things are possible. 

All the Sisters are feeling well, and are on deck, and whilst 
they admire the work of the Omnipotent and the immensity of 
God, they implore graces and blessings on the land that they 
see. Last evening we passed Cuba. 

I have not told you of our pretty invention to keep the sea good, 
and even to make it more attractive and quiet. At night I beg 
the Sisters to make big acts of humility, acknowledging our misery. 
This is very easy, when we live up to the truth and do not delude 
ourselves, and with this kind of humble supplication we obtain 
the grace of seeing the sea spread out like a beautiful blue cloth, 
slightly creased, but brilliant with beautiful colours, creating a 
charm with which diamonds, gems and precious stones are not 
to be compared. 

Oh, humility, how powerful and beautiful thou art! Do, my 
daughters, be humble of intellect and thought, as true Religious 
placed in the school of perfection should be. Have an abject 
opinion of yourselves. Let each one consider herself the least of 
all the Sisters and she the only one unworthy to live with the 
Spouses of Christ, the Beloved of His Most Sacred Heart. Be 
grateful of God’s mercies, for gratitude is the noble sentiment of 
humble souls. Be humble, therefore, and always truly so, loving 
to be held of no account, unnoticed, forgotten, ill-treated, despised 
and calumniated; even in such cases one should remain calm, 

Nezv York to Nicaragua — October, 1891 


resigned and contented, as in a garden of flowers. Prefer to obey 
rather than to command. When you are corrected, do not justify 
yourselves, never say, “I speak because I have reason to do so.’* 
Keep silent and practise virtue whether you are right or wrong, 
otherwise we may dream of perfection, but we shall never reach it. 

With humility, you will increase in grace and virtue, the serenity 
of the Angels will shine upon your faces, you will not be dis¬ 
couraged in adversity nor elated in prosperity. Your only thought 
will be to please Jesus in everything, and then you will be like 
those pure white doves, beautiful and lovely in the sight of God. 
Your voice will be sweet to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, your prayer 
will be as perfume in the sight of the Most High, your life will be 
as a burning lamp in the Community; in fine, your death will 
be that of the Just, with an immense trust in Him Whom you 

have imitated, and Who is your All and the Centre of your 


Now, I must tell you how the Feast of Blessed Margaret Mary 
Alacoque, our greatest Patroness, ended. At four p.m. a bell 

rang long and loud, and the staff appeared in great hurry. The 

sailors were running here and there. It was a fire alarm. In 
less time than it takes to tell, everyone was ready with a life 
preserver to jump into the sea in case of danger, but carefully, 
for, as the Captain says, this sea is full of sharks which are 
seen very frequently. Men were employed in lowering the 
lifeboats. It was a fine sight to behold, for a dear old lady, who 
always bestows on us so much attention, told us it was only a 
fire drill carried out occasionally to keep the staff efficient in the 
event of a fire really happening. May God spare us such a 

At six p.m. we went as usual to dinner, when several people, 
accompanied by a Colonel from Guatemala, addressed us, saying 
they were going to give a concert in honour of the Captain, and 
hoped that we would take part in it also. We hesitated to give 
our consent, not being accustomed to this sort of thing, but, 
remembering that we were in very refined company, and that, 
after Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, we owed the safety of our 
lives to the brave and valiant Captain, we yielded, begging the 
Colonel to put our names at the beginning of the programme, so 
that as soon as we did our part we could retire. This was 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

graciously accepted, and half-an-hour after we found ourselves in 
the first-class salon, where we read an address which was 
graciously applauded, and then we returned on deck, leaving the 
other passengers to finish their entertainment, which was really 
very nice and sensibly arranged. But, after all, they were not 
satisfied. The Colonel came on deck accompanied by the Doctor 
and other persons and begged us to sing some of the little hymns 
they heard us sing a few days before. So we sang, in chorus, 
*‘Gesu mio ver conforto’* (‘‘Jesus, my true comfort’') and then 
“Maria, che dolci afYetti” (“Mary, what sweet affection”), and 
our voices, blending with the sound of the waves, were raised to 
Heaven, while the listeners’ faces brightened up with a new 
pleasure, which, perhaps, some never enjoyed before. It was 
Jesus and Mary who were passing their celestial rays over these 
souls, for whom we were secretly praying that they might be given 
the precious gift of faith. The Captain, not knowing how to 
show his gratitude, invited us to go on his bridge. He showed 
us his tri-coloured lantern—white, green and red—which is used 
to avoid collisions, his compass and other nautical instruments, 
and the plumb-line for measuring. The Captain told us the 
Caribbean sea is a mile deep, and that the sea near Nicaragua 
has no known depth, for no one has been able to fathom it. I 
hope I shall return to you, however, without having to measure 
such a profound depth. We also saw the Captain’s bed, which 
is a sort of hammock with a small mattress, suspended from the 
ceiling of his cabin. But very little rest can the poor man have 
if the weather is not fine, as he is responsible for all lives on deck, 
for which he is, indeed, most anxious and careful. 

Yesterday, 19th, at seven a.m. we arrived at Colon, a port which 
has the reputation of being very unhealthy and a place of yellow 
fever. For us, however, it turned out very pleasant; the air, 
which for the last few days had become cool, contrary to every 
law of nature, became still cooler as we arrived in the harbour. 
So whilst we enjoyed a cool sea breeze, we contemplated for the 
first time a forest of palms which surrounded the bay and made 
it a charming sight. The railway was quite near the steamer, 
but the Captain would not allow us to leave the ship until every 
thing was ready for our departure, which was at one-thirty p.m. 
So w’e had no difficulty in seeking shelter and food. When the 

New York to Nicaragua — October, 1891 


signal was given, he had our luggage put on rail free of charge, 
thanks to the kindly thought of the Bursar, who also favoured us 
greatly. When we were all in the train, the Captain, accompanied 
by all the officers, came to bid us good-bye, and told us to keep 
well and assured us we would have a pleasant voyage up the Pacific. 

Even the staff came to say good-bye. One would think we 
were leaving our own families, but while one was pleased at such 
an exhibition of kindness, neverthless, it made one feel sad to 
leave such genial people, among whom it seemed we could do so 
much good. God, however, wants us elsewhere, and so, after the 
signal was given for the departure, we find ourselves flying across 
the Isthmus of Panama, traversing a forest of palms, and then 
through a country where nature is immense in vegetation. There 
are immense stretches of cocoa-nuts, royal palms, bananas, bread- 
trees, tamarinds noted for their beautiful tiny leaves, and another 
tree called in Spanish ‘‘Asquiera,'’ from the roots of which a 
peculiar kind of flour can be extracted. There are thousands of 
other trees displaying fruits and leaves which are a source of great 
wonder. I must say I really saw this time something new which 
interested me greatly, for up to now I only knew of these wonders 
through the annals of the propagation of the Faith. We thought 
we were in India or in China, especially as the train passed through 
villages of wooden or thatched huts, inhabited principally by 
Chinese emigrants and negroes. The further we go, the happier I 
feel in being out here: these are real missionary spots. It is true 
we have been sent to an uncivilised country, but I hope it will be 
the stepping stone for a large foundation, from which we may go 
forth from time to time to bring the knowledge of Christ and His 
Most Holy Laws in those lands where the Missionary has not yet 
reached. In fact, we see no churches, and if we see anything of the 
kind, they are only pagodas or Protestant churches. The sight of 
this spiritual misery filled our hearts with zeal, though for the 
moment we can do nothing but pray for these, our unfortunate 
brethren, dwelling in the darkness. As we can do nothing else, we 
say our Rosary and recommend these souls to the Great Mother, 
who, by the mouth of the Church, says to herself, ‘‘Quasi palma 
exaltata sum in Cades et quasi plantatio rosse in Jerico.*' Let the 
Blessed Virgin be honoured in these countries of palms and flowers, 
which are an image of her, and may there be a perfect and complete 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

conversion of all these souls. To obtain this, we trust to your 
prayers, dear daughters. Pray, pray much without ceasing, and 
make your prayers efficacious by sacrifice, which you can practise 
hourly by a perfect observance of the Rule which imposes certain 
acts of self-denial, and to which I invite all, for Jesus wishes this 
of you. 

But we have been two hours and a half crossing the Isthmus, 
and we have not arrived at the City of Panama, situated on the 
Pacific, which ocean extends in front of us with a calmness worthy 
of its name. Here the boat awaits us, and we are the first to 
board it, whilst the person to whom we were recommended by 
the Captain, carried our luggage. It was very soon filled with 
passengers who were going our way, and we were then transferred 
to the steamer, St, Bias, which awaited us in the bay, and which 
could not come close to the shore owing to the large number of 
shoals to be found there. We went on board two hours before 
dark, expecting to continue our voyage at once, but, when we 
got there, we had to make a day’s stay, which eventually turned 
out to be one of two very long days. But even then Our Divine 
Lord remembered His own, because in Panama there is danger of 
yellow fever, and He thus placed us on the sea to enjoy the sea- 
breeze for two days. We would love to run at once to our Mission, 
but Our Lord wants us to have two days delay. We must take this 
rest in peace. 

After ten days fast from Holy Communion, we had an ardent 
desire to approach the Centre of Life. Our desire was about to be 
realised, for now we see a little rowing boat coming towards us 
which we hired and in which we rowed to the shore. It was my first 
experience in a rowing boat, and I assure you I felt frightened 
indeed to find myself so close to the waters of the largest ocean, 
especially as the little craft seemed about to capsize every time a 
passenger stepped into it; but the object of our trip enlivened my 
faith, and I encouraged the others to follow. In a few minutes we 
were rapidly making our trip of two miles to the City of Panama, 
singing hymns in preparation for Holy Communion. At the sound 
of our voices a flight of birds approached, and accompanied us to 
the shore. .In the Cathedral we were able to satisfy our desire— 
Jesus came to live in us, to co-operate with us, to unite Himself 
with us. We went to the Bishop’s house, but the Bishop was 

New York to Nicaragua — October, 1891 


absent and we were received by his secretary. It was about ten 
o’clock when we got back to our boat, and, as at this time the 
sea was at low-tide, we had to walk half-a-mile over the long beach 
in order to get to our boat. We could therefore admire the beauti¬ 
ful stones, many of very fine marble, which the salty sea usually 
covers. We amused ourselves by gathering shells of all colours 
and sizes. 

Then once more w’e rowed amidst the waves, singing hymns of 
thanksgiving. Here again the birds hover over us, drawn there 
either by the hoarseness or sweetness of our voices, to adore and 
praise their Creator Whom we carried in our hearts as in living 
Tabernacles. Some of the Sisters wanted to know what this 
procession meant, and I replied that they represented the Religious 
of those countries who might enter our Institute some day, but 
one of the Sisters was not convinced of my interpretation, and 
answered, “They rather (as the birds were about a thousand in 
number) represent the souls that shall be saved by us.” I still 
argued, when another flight of other aquatic birds appeared, a 
thousand or more, and eventually we decided that they repre¬ 
sented the souls which were to be saved by us in the course of 
time. Nevertheless, it was a sight I had never beheld before in 
the five voyages I had already made. 

We arrived on board amid the joyful exclamations of all the 
passengers, who feel for us as if we were of their own. Some 
of them for fun had tried to frighten us, saying we should never 
reach the shore, especially as we were hidden from view by a 
shower which fell near the steamer while we were crossing. The 
shower only threatened us, for we intoned the Ave Maris Stella, 
during which the spirits of the air vanished, and we only experi¬ 
enced the rocking of the boat, encouraged at the same time by the 
realisation that Our Lord was Master of that piece of wood which 
separated us from the ocean’s abyss. Sitting at the stern of the 
boat, I put my hands into the sea and bathed them, but I withdrew 
them quickly when I felt one of them being drawn down vigorously. 
It could not have been one of those sharks two metres long, but 
certainly something of the crab species which, when once it grasped, 
kept a tight hold. 

We spent the day in pious readings, interrupted now and then 
by the arrival of new passengers or fishing boats carrying a quantity 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cahrini 

of corals for those who cared to buy them. We amused ourselves 
by watching the little islands, which, owing to the ebb and flow 
of the tide, appeared correspondingly very small or very large. 
These islands are joined by narrow stretches of land. At low tide 
we perceived the remnants of a shipwreck. Who knows how many 
years ago? The old vessel is so wedged in the sand that no tide 
can set it afloat. How many poor creatures may have been 
victims in the disaster! What feelings of compassion does the 
thought not awaken in us and move us to pray for the repose 
of their souls! 

Yesterday, the 21st, we desired to pay a return visit to Panama, 
but the passage cost too much so we satisfied our desire for Holy 
Communion by the thought of having received Our Lord the day 
before and by drawing Him into the Mystic Tabernacle of our 
hearts through Spiritual Communion. During the course of the 
morning the Sisters were anxious to visit the islands near by. 
This could be done easily, as the tide was low. They could be 
reached by boat and then on foot, thus passing from one isle to 
the other. The trip took only ten minutes and cost very little, 
so I was able to satisfy their desire. I did not go myself, however, 
for, if I admit my weakness, I am afraid of the sea, and if there 
were no very holy motive in view, I have no courage to go where 
I fear danger, unless I were sent by obedience, and when, of course, 
one’s actions are blessed by God. 

Oh, blessed voice of obedience! When that speaks, the Mis¬ 
sionary crosses the ocean and gives no thought to the roaring 
waters, the rising and lowering of the billows, but the ocean 
becomes to her a sublime and magnificent sight that fills her 
with admiration, and induces her to praise the Creator for the 
beauty and wonder of His works. 

The Sisters enjoyed themselves immensely under the shady trees. 
They found other shells, but none so pretty as those on the beach 
at Panama. 

The two days of rest are over, and at seven p.m. the steamer 
sets sail amidst the salutations of the passengers on the other 
steamers in the harbour, the boatmen and the waving of hundreds 
of flags. It is more of a pleasure trip, for we are coasting all the 
time. The steamer does not seem to move, no sound of the 
engines is heard, and still the boat is going rapidly. The waters 

New York to Nicaragua — October, 1891 


of the Pacific Ocean are really quiet—it does not appear to be 
what it is in reality. 

Yesterday, at five p.m., the Vigil of St. Raphael, w^e reached 
Punta Arenas, Gulf of Costa Rica. Here the steamer stopped 
for the mail of the first Republic of Central America. Owing to 
the low tide, the steamer was obliged to remain two hundred yards 
from the shore. Some rowing boats conveyed passengers to and 
from the steamer. Amongst these was a gentleman who approached 
us, and hearing that we wanted to send a telegram to Dona Elena 
Arellano, offered to do it for us. He further told us that as the 
Bishop had come to Punta Arenas for the Feast of St. Raphael, 
he would inform him of our arrival, and was sure that the Bishop 
would be glad to see us. 

In about ten minutes he returned to the port, and in half-an- 
hour's time we perceived a boat coming towards us with two 
persons in it, and presently we recognised the prelate’s dress. In 
no time the Bishop was ascending the gangway, and he met us as 
a father awaiting the arrival of his children. We all approached 
the most excellent prelate, who, sitting in our midst, listened with 
interest to the account of our voyage and the work we were about 
to undertake. Now and then he whispered to his secretary, ‘‘We 
must get them here, too,” and his secretary said, “Why don’t you 
at once?” He encouraged us greatly, but told us, however, we 
should have great difficulties to encounter, but we would overcome 
them and do great good if we maintained the true spirit. Finally 
he told us that if we had much to suffer, to write to him and he 
would give us shelter in his diocese. He blessed us and then went, 
leaving behind him an excellent impression of his zeal and holiness. 
He is German, possessing an intelligent mind and good spirit, a 
strong physique and energetic character. He is just the type of 
person for these countries. 

To-day, which is the Feast of Saint Raphael, is the last day of 
our voyage. Just as this angel conducted Tobias to the land of 
fortune, so he conducts us to these countries where we can accu¬ 
mulate treasures for Heaven by working hard for these abandoned 
souls. Even here on board ladies and gentlemen- approach us 
and tell us how necessary it is to have Missionaries in these parts 
who will work with true zeal for the good of the people. Oh! 
my God, bless our intentions, and give us zeal for the salvation 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

of our neighbours^ souls, and communicate to us that energy which 
knows no measure and overcomes all difficulties confiding in the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

Yesterday afternoon we saw what seemed like a small canal, 
with waters of different colours, flowing like so many streams in 
the midst of the salty sea. We asked the Captain the cause of 
this phenomenon, and he told us it was due to a phosphorous 
element, and that at night we should be able to see the phosphor¬ 
escence, which is quite common in the Pacific Ocean. 

Here we are, at the Equinox—twelve hours full night. It is 
interesting to see the succession of both day and night. At six 
p.m. we are in full daylight, and at six-thirty the sun not only dis¬ 
appears, but we have perfect night. It is the same in the morning. 
At five-thirty a.m. we are still in darkness, and at six a.m. the sun 
is high in the heavens. There is a difference of six hours between 
the time in Italy and Granada, so whilst we hear Mass, you are 
making the Particular Examination of Conscience, and when we 
are going to bed, you are about to get up, and thus we are always 
praising God, which I ever greatly desire. 

Whilst I am writing, we have arrived at the end of our voyage. 
This morning, the 25th, the steamer entered one of the most 
beautiful gulfs I have ever seen, the Gulf of Nicaragua, off the 
coast of Corinto. It anchored at seven a.m., about eighty metres 
from the shore, and soon, amidst the strains of a very fine band, 
we saw two boats adorned with flags and steered by soldiers 
rowing towards the steamer. Everyone was asking what it meant, 
and we were amongst the enquirers. When the boat reached the 
steamer, a priest and an old gentleman came on board; then 
other priests and gentlemen followed who had accompanied them. 
They are the representatives of the President and of the Bishop, 
sent to meet us. Everyone made way for them to approach us, 
as we were standing at a distance and little thought such distin¬ 
guished personages were approaching us. They presented us with 
salutations from the great men of the Republic and prayed us to 
go with them, saying our luggage would be seen to. Having 
saluted the Captain and passengers, some of whom were crying 
because we were leaving them, we boarded the boats which con¬ 
veyed us on shore. At Corinto we partook of a good breakfast 
which had been prepared for us; it being already ten o'clock, our 


Nezv York to Nicaragua — October, 1891 

appetites had been somewhat sharpened by the pure air. In the 
meantime a dispatch arrived welcoming us on the part of the 
President, and giving us and our luggage a free passage. Thus, 
after receiving several visitors, we boarded the train at three p.m., 
accompanied by the same personages who met us on board the 

At six p.m. we arrived at Leon, where a crowd was awaiting 
us, to see what we were like, I believe, but the place was so full 
that we could not get off the train, so we were compelled to go 
further back and take another exit. All precautions seemed use¬ 
less, for the people were determined to see us. While all this was 
going on, the Vicar General, sent by the Bishop, came on board 
the train and read an address to us in the Bishop^s name, which 
was certainly an honour not merited by us. 

We were at last able to get off the train, surrounded by soldiers 
so as not to be crushed to death. Then we got into carriages 
which took us to an hotel, where, by orders of the Bishop, apart¬ 
ments had been prepared for the night. The owner of the hotel 
is a Florentine, who had great pleasure in serving us, and treated 
us as well as he could. 

In the evening some ladies and gentlemen from Leon came to 
visit us and ask us to send seven Sisters to Leon to open an 
Academy there. It was very hard to convince them that such 
things were quite impossible for the moment, but in the end they 
resigned themselves to it by my promising to let them have some 
Sisters some years hence. 

In the morning the Bishop sent carriages to convey us to his 
palace, as he wished to see us, and though seriously ill through an 
apoplectic attack which paralysed his tongue, he got up to see 
us, making efforts to speak and assuring us that as soon as he 
was better he would come to Granada to see us. 

At eight-thirty a.m. we were on board the train, and at ten a.m. 
we reached Momotambo, where we took another trip up the lake, 
and where another breakfast was prepared by the Bishop’s orders, 
the day before. At eleven a.m. we crossed this beautiful lake. 
Opposite us were several volcanoes, only one of which was not 
extinct, but from which only smoke came forth. At four p.m. 
we arrived at Managua, where a train for Granada was awaiting 
us. One of the Senators and a Deputy of the Government, with 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

other persons desirous to see the Sisters, came to salute us. 

At six p.m. we arrived at Granada, where the whole population 
awaited us. I really think no one could have remained at home, 
everybody seemed to be at the station. The crowd prevented 
the carriages from coming up to us, as they wanted us to pass 
them so that they could see us, but the number of people was so 
great that order could not be maintained, and we feared we should 
be suffocated. I was particularly anxious, as some of the Sisters 
were not feeling too well. I feared they would make martyrs of 
us through their great devotion towards us. I therefore prayed 
the soldiers to make room for us, and as soon as I called them 
they drew near and put the people in order, forming a great pro¬ 
cession to the Parish Church, where the parish priest, accom¬ 
panied by other priests, awaited us to sing the Te Deum, after 
which we were taken to the house which was destined for us, and 
where with great pleasure we are preparing to open an Academy. 

All the children of the town want to attend our school, and 
boarders from the neighbouring districts are asking admittance, 
but for the present we can only take fifty boarders, for although 
the house is big, it is not big enough for this tropical climate where 
the heat is intense. Now and then we have, as it were, a providen¬ 
tial breeze which, pure and fresh, restores us a little. We have 
large enclosures with a variety of orange trees and other smaller 
plants, and flowers of all colours and kinds. It just looks like the 
beginning of Spring, and so it will be on Christmas Day. 

The good Lady Elena Arellano had all the dormitories in order 
for the Sisters, and a very nice airy chapel, so that the Director of 
the Seminary, who by the order of the Bishop had accompanied 
us, could celebrate Mass and give us Holy Communion. In the 
afternoon he gave a beautiful sermon inviting people to thank the 
Sacred Heart for having bestowed on them the grace of having 
the Religious amongst them. At present Donna Elena is preparing 
the desks and arranging the programme or prospectus, which will 
be examined by the heads of the families, and so far this has 
been approved by them, for they say we have brought them true 
progress. We hope this will result in good to their souls; for this 
alone have we undertaken such a long voyage. May the Sacred 
Heart and Saint Aloysius, who is Patron of this house, help to 
obtain these graces. 

New York to Nicaragua — October^ 1891 


All the Sisters are well and working hard to open the Academy 
very soon. Perhaps they will begin about the middle of December. 
Those Sisters who feared earthquakes fear nothing now, though 
we experience some shaking. We have a volcano quite near. 
Some people want us to visit the country, which offer I intend to 
accept later on before I leave, so I shall have something to tell 
you, and not be like those who go to Rome without going to see 
the Pope. 

I beg of you to become true Missionaries, capable of those 
sacrifices which your Sisters with the aid of the Sacred Heart 
have made. Seek to perfect your spirit and the observance of 
the Holy Rules, for you must be holy to be able to go to the 
Missions, and perfect by observing your rules and customs. 

Our great Patron, Saint Francis Xavier, said, ‘‘He who goes 
holy to the Missions will find many occasions to sanctify himself 
more, but he who goes poorly provided with holiness, runs the 
risk of losing what he has and of falling away."' I become more 
convinced of this truth every day, and as experience is a great 
master, let us take advantage of the lessons it teaches and never 
let a day pass without examining our conscience and making 
serious resolutions to acquire the virtues we need. 

May the Sacred Heart bless and enclose you in His sweet Heart, 
imprinting His love on yours, and giving you perfect detachment 
of yourselves. 

Your affectionate Mother in the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus, 

Frances Saverio Cabrini. 

Granada, November 3rd, 1891. 


enoa to Tlew Hark 


My dear Daughters, 

The peace of God be with you and accompany you 
everywhere with the Most Adorable Charity of 
Jesus Christ. 

Two years have passed since I left the Missions of Central 
America and the United States and returned to you, and now 
having to leave you again is very hard, for I have become as 
one, who, being accustomed to the pleasure of gathering every 
day variegated and odoriferous bouquets of the most beautiful 
flowers of your virtues, now goes forth wandering in an endless 
desert, where nothing but weeds can be found. But I consoled 
myself with the reflection that, if when I was near you I could 
gather bunches of flowers which edified me, now that I am far 
away the memory of your steady and virtuous practices, which 
make you exemplary Religious, true Spouses of Christ, will give 
me comfort, and I shall seem to hear a voice saying, '‘Go, Mother, 
and do as the Vicar of Christ has told you. Do not worry 
about your daughters far away. They will relieve your mind by 
the beautiful and consoling news they will send you. They will 
do their duty faithfully and keep their promises.*' 

Am I to put faith in that voice within? Certainly you are 
very good-hearted, and you would never wound the heart of a 
Mother with bad news; you are sensible and you never break 
your word. You will try to grow in virtue, try to make sacrifices 
yourselves, real true sacrifices, in order to obtain that the time 
and labours I spend be not in vain, and that I may find good 
ground, good seed, a good harvest. "Euntes ibant et flebant 
mittentes semina sua: venientes autem venient cum exultatione 
portantes manipulos suos." It was thus that the most eminent 


56 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Cardinal Parocchi wrote in the commendation he sent. But the 
first verse is no longer applicable to me, since my daughters 
follow me with their virtues, sacrifices and their beautiful and 
admirable fidelity. Shall I fear weather, privations, bad treat¬ 
ment and injustice? No, for the Missionary should fear nothing, 
outside sin, an offence, however small, against God. Then, what 
can disturb me? One thing only, that my daughters had lost 
the spirit of the Institute, had become weak, unfaithful: this 
would be a sea of bitterness which would trouble me. Let the 
bond of Charity bind us together as a true family in the Heart 
of Jesus. 

But you wish me to chase away all sad thoughts, and I ask 
you to assume the usual gayness of the Missionary and to join 
the company of the good Sisters who surround me. We are 
fifteen in number, and so represent the fifteen Mysteries of the 
Holy Rosary. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary is our guide, our 
star and our comfort. We each drew a mystery, and the one 
I love most fell to me—‘The Descent of the Holy Ghost”—so 
I shall remain in the upper room during the whole voyage, and 
from this dear solitude I send a thought, a word to you, providing 
you say the “Veni Creator” for me every day. 

At Genoa we received every mark of attention. With the 
Sisters came several persons, amongst whom was the distinguished 
family, De Maria, who came to say good-bye to their daughter 
and sister. Sister Xavier, who showed the true Missionary Spirit. 
It was admirable how both the parents and the Sisters restrained 
their feelings, though their emotion was great. Half-an-hour be¬ 
fore the departure, Mr. Lamp, the distinguished representative of 
the German Lloyd Line, introduced me to the Captain, warmly 
recommending us to his care. He promised to do all he could for 
us. All luggage was on board, and the Fulda had raised anchor, 
when we perceived a small boat carrying Colonel de Maria and 
his family and four Sisters of the House at Genoa, who continued 
to follow and wave salutation till the steamer left the harbour. 
The Fulda is now out of the port and our adieux are ended. We, 
however, are all united, and whilst we sail beneath Our Lady’s 
Mantle, enclosed in the Adorable Heart of Jesus, you must pray 
and offer sacrifices to God for us, and Our Divine Lord will 
smile upon us and bless us. Pray, pray much, for we depend 

Genoa to New York — September^ 1894 


on your prayers; we trust in them, assured that you will obtain 
for us a very happy voyage and abundant graces. 

The I4th September. To-day we commemorate the Exaltation 
of the Holy Cross, and the Sisters not being able to honour the 
day in any other way, have thought fit to feel somewhat unwell. 
Ihe sea is calm and beautiful, the air is mild and soothing, the 
treatment on board is very much like what we have been used to, 
but, whatever happened, one after another began to feel sea-sick 
and retired to their ^'boxes,^' as they call the small berths in the 
state room. At dinner I desired all should come to table, but they 
had to leave at once, not wishing to disturb the others. It is 
three p.m., and all, feeling well again, have come on deck to see 
the Balearic Islands, near which the Fulda is coasting. 

We saw the Majorca Islands, also, the home of Saint Alphonsus 
Rodriquez, and, moved by ardent desires, we begged for some of 
those sublime and great virtues possessed by this Saint, and which 
I would love to see imprinted in the hearts of my daughters. 

This morning (as we had arranged to do last evening) all 
wanted to make a regular meditation, but they changed their 
minds very quickly as they were feeling too ill. Some of the Sisters 
tried to resist, but had to give in at last. At present all are in 
contemplation, admiring the landscape, sea and sky, which present 
to our view a scene of enchantment. Of course it is not like the 
scenery of Liguria when coasting along the Riviera. There we 
see a real amphitheatre from the sloping top of the Apennines to 
the sea, the mountains, hills, beach, the sharp peaks, the lofty 
pines, the soft green, the undulating slopes, the peaceful olive and 
thousands of fruits and flowers, while the palms and woods and 
fruit gardens which reach to the sea are beautiful to behold from 
the deck of the steamer. 

From Genoa to Nice, the cities seem to vie with one another 
in presenting a continual change of view. To tell the truth, until 
I became acquainted with the beauties of La Riviera Levante, and 
still more with those of La Riviera de Ponente, I never realised 
the beauty of Italy. I am happy, now, however, to be able to 
describe our Peninsula to the people of other countries through 
which I may pass. 

The Sisters having remembered it was the anniversary of my 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

profession, regretted my not being able to receive Holy Com¬ 
munion, for which kind thought I was most grateful. It is only 
one day since I received Jesus in my heart, and I imagine He is 
still there. One remembers Jacob’s mystical dream when he saw 
a mystic ladder and angels descending and ascending, who re¬ 
vealed many mysteries and secrets to Jacob and assured him and 
his descendants of God’s protection. Though we are far from the 
Holy Tabernacle, still even here on the sea there is a mystic ladder 
which touches Heaven, and the angels ascend and descend upon 
it for us also. From its summit God looks down upon us and 
makes generous promises. We can, therefore, repeat with Jacob, 
‘‘Really, God is here in this place and we did not know it.” We 
are in the bosom of the Catholic Church. We always lay our 
heads on the dear and mystic stone of Jesus; we agree with Him 
in everything, and abandon ourselves to Him, tranquil and secure, 
and by thus doing we merit in Jesus and by Jesus to partake of 
the good and the graces He brings us. And so I am quite happy 
to celebrate on the sea the most beautiful day of my life, the 
anniversary of my profession. Jesus is looking at me from the 
summit of the ladder; I invite Him to come to me spiritually, 
and He descends at once into my heart. He deigns to come down 
to this steamer, the Fulda, to bless those who are travelling with 
us. What a gift, and we knew it not! 

To-day is the iSth; we have been more fortunate, we do not 
feel as if we were at sea, but rather wrapped up in a cloud like 
that of the Transfiguration. There is a charming blue sky above, 
and below us one can hardly distinguish the sea from the sky. 
Some of the passengers say we are in the third heavens, others, 
the seventh; the glorious splendour renders everything so bright 
and brilliant that the passengers exclaim, “How lovely, how beau¬ 
tiful.” We seem to see the portals of Heaven which do not close 
at the end of the day, because there daytime never ends, for the 
day up there is eternal and the light which emanates from the 
Divine Face never fails. There, in that abode, exists no night, 
no ignorance, no blindness, for everything is seen in God; there, 
no sorrows exist, no tears, no adversity, no sighs. No, daughters, 
in Heaven there are no clouds to obscure the Divine Sun, the 
Eternal Sun of Justice. There is no fear of losing God; no wiles 

Genoa to New York — September, 1894 


of the enemy, for he has been routed; the world is far away, and 
the body spiritualized lives in harmony with the soul. No, there 
is no night in Heaven and the door is always open. Friends reach 
there at every moment, every instant; they do not disturb, but, 
rather, render the repose serene and sweet. Oh, sublime City, 
send down your beams of Light to these regions of darkness, this 
shadow of death where we still miserably live. Come, oh Super¬ 
natural Light, to reveal to us the beauties of that Blessed Country, 
and detach us from the miseries of this earth; make our eyes so 
pure that, through the shining crystal of Faith, they may behold 
the eternal good which awaits us after a short time of sacrifice 
and self-conquering. He who fights will be victorious, and to 
the victor the prize is Heaven. 

Between one thing and another, yesterday we reached Gilbraltar. 
The steamer steered into the harb'our, remaining, however, half-a- 
kilometre distant from the shore. The small tenders came for 
passengers who were bound for Spain and for those who wanted 
to visit Gilbraltar. Two of us went ashore to make a visit to the 
Blessed Sacrament, but the churches were closed, and the cabman 
told us that they would not re-open at that hour, as the priests 
had gone to dinner. We then went to buy some Spanish books 
for our new Mission, but we were handed Spanish novels. None 
of the booksellers had what we wanted. The cabman tried to 
console us by telling us there was very little devotion in Gibraltar. 
He took us then to the Borgo S. Rocco to show us what was 
interesting. In the Public Gardens we found all sorts of plants. 
The cabman, acting as our guide, picked bunches of pretty berries 
for us, and we brought them back to the Sisters as souvenir of 
this Spanish land. 

Gibraltar is grand with its rocks and mountains, which render 
it one of the strongest fortresses which England has acquired in 
the Mediterranean. There is stationed here a garrison of six 
thousand soldiers, with an enormous amount of artillery and can¬ 
nons of incredible size. The city is small, and contains three 
Catholic Churches and three Protestant Churches. Though I was 
told there was very little religion in Gibraltar, all the Spaniards 
I met appeared to be good; they told me they were apostolic 
Catholics, an expression which greatly consoled me. Moreover, 
they wanted to introduce us to the Sisters they love so much, but 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

time was pressing, the Captain having allowed us but two hours, 
so we hurried on board, where we were received with great joy, 
just as if we were members of one family. We are very fortunate, 
indeed. Our company is composed of very kind ladies and gentle¬ 
men, who are most thoughtful and respectful towards us. 

Among the passengers is a Father of the Conventual Order, 
whom I met four years ago at Hoboken. We were rather impor¬ 
tunate in begging him to say Holy Mass, at least on Sundays, but 
he could not comply with our request, for he had no vestments 
or other requisites with him. So, here again on this voyage we 
are deprived of Holy Mass and Holy Communion. But, after all, 
God wishes it thus, so let us cherish the memory of the last 
reception of Him, as Holy Viaticum, in Genoa. As I have said 
before. He helps, consoles and comforts us. We are representing 
the fifteen mysteries, and God, in His immense goodness, leaves 
us to enjoy Him. He is our Paradise—the Heaven of our desires. 

We left Gibraltar yesterday, and, steering through the Straits, 
passed Spain, or had a glimpse of it; but we turned with sighs 
and groans towards Morocco, that poor land to which we would 
willingly fly to give succour to those poor souls which the Word 
of God has not as yet reached. It is true, vast crusades of Christ’s 
Missionaries are already on this soil, but the land is vast, the 
ignorance extreme, and the help is insufflcient. May Missionary 
Priests and Sisters multiply in numbers! The harvest is great, 
the labourers are few! To you, Christian maidens, do I speak 
especially, love God, and make yourselves active with the zeal 
that burns in you; help your poor abandoned brethren, who are 
the price of the blood of Christ, join our band and-try to give a 
large number of souls to the Heart of Jesus. 

Your love must be active as that of Jesus on Golgotha. ‘‘Sitio,” 
‘T thirst,” cried Jesus, ‘‘for souls.” If you love God, come forth, 
have courage, the devil laughs at the weak, at the timid, whereas 
he fears and flies from energetic souls. Are you fearful? She 
who trusts in God and mistrusts herself, need fear nothing, 
because stripped of herself and strong with the strength of God, 
and with faith and humility, she can defy everything. Mind, 
dangers only exist for those who put themselves in the way of 
them, who mix up the things of the world with the things of God. 
On the other hand, those who are untrammelled with the things 

Genoa to New York — September, 1894 61 

of the world, seek God alone and His service, and His glory, run 
no risk. 

Worldlings look with esteem on Religious who despise the 
pleasures of the world; they revere them and will have recourse 
to them in their needs. What an honour Christian maidens, if 
God calls you to extend His Kingdom! Let us be up and doing! 
Do not refuse and incur the rebuke given to the Foolish Virgins, 
by neglecting to take advantage of the opportunity which the 
Institute affords us of co-operating in saving souls, and thus gain¬ 
ing merits, which in Heaven will fructify in an immeasurable 
reward of glory. 

Virgins are chosen Spouses of the King and therefore Queens. 
If they are Queens, they must have a people over whom to exercise 
their power—their celestial Mission of Peace. Just as the Virgin, 
working as a Missionary, gains souls to Christ, so she extends her 
dominions, and her sceptre becomes more powerful and more 
glorious. Come, prudent Virgins, and enlarge the Missionary 
Army, come, and make all nations give one another the kiss of 
peace. Come, for the Kingdom of God has no limits; its limits 
are those of the globe itself. Come, and let your glory be the 
glory of your celestial Spouse, the working out of that celestial 
talent—the sublime vocation of co-operating with Christ for the 
salvation of souls. Come, for in the Vineyard of the Great Father 
of the family we are to gather rich and copious sheaves. There 
are some who may think they are too poor, ignorant and weak 
to undertake such work. Do not fear, mistrust yourselves and 
confide in God, for, as I have already said, '‘Omnia possum in 
Eo qui me confortat.” “With God I can do all things.*' He who 
calls us is that same Jesus who said, “Be perfect even as your 
Heavenly Father is perfect." But how are we to attain such per¬ 
fection? By the grace of Him Who deigns to impose such an 
injunction upon us. When the Virgin of Christ mistrusts herself 
and confides completely in Jesus Christ, she can do all things. 
She becomes powerful, and can at every instant repeat, “With 
God I shall do great things." 

But now I must continue my letter. You will certainly forgive 
the digression, which was inspired by my great desire to see 
your numbers increase. I long to help those nations who excite 
my pity. To-day I am alone on deck. All the Sisters have re- 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

mained in their berths. As we passed through the Straits of 
Gibraltar and entered on the great Atlantic, we at once felt the 
roughness of the ocean, and that, coupled with the swaying of the 
steamer and the roar of thunder, unnerved the Sisters, and they 
began to fear a storm. Sister Alphonsus tried to be brave, and 
came on deck to keep me company, but she was hardly seated 
when she was forced to descend. Then Sister Xavier did her 
best to be brave, overcoming herself by resting and coming on 
deck in and out. If she persists in her efforts, she will eventually 
become a good sailor. Sister Alacoque is quite a success; she 
rests on a table or a chair from time to time, and at intervals 
acts as infirmarian to all the other Sisters. Sister Giovannina 
made several attempts also, but was eventually forced to retire 
to her berth. Sister Constance is always up and comes to her meals 
regularly, for she thinks that by eating she will be able to resist 
the sea-sickness longer. I believe she is quite right, but to-day 
even she is laid up and can eat only what is brought to her. 
Sister Benedict sighs and believes she is ill, but one can see she 
is looking brighter than ever. All the Sisters seem very happy 
and are making the best of their little discomforts. 

To-day the Captain and the Head Stewart begged me to tell 
them what the Sisters needed, as they felt it very keenly to see 
the Sisters suffering so much. The kindness we receive is incredible. 
I experienced great attention as a passenger on the Transatlantic 
Company’s steamers, but the North German Line merits just as 
much praise. Captain Thalenhorst is a typical sea captain, and his 
good-heartedness and sagacity stamp him as the right man in the 
right place. 

To-day I made up my mind to stay in my berth and rest awhile 
after the incessant fatigue of the preceding days. I had hoped the 
Sisters would remain there also, as they had done during these 
past days, but to my surprise they were on deck, bright and happy 
and as serene as the lovely sea which we are enjoying to-day. The 
sea is of a charming deep blue, and reminds one of the heaven of 
a soul in the possession of God, a very peaceful heart, a heavenly 
look. Such a soul is always made more beautiful by Jesus. It 
listens to His conversations, and loves them because they are 
purer and more precious than gold or silver; it listens to the 
precepts of its Beloved and feels they give it life and salvation. 


Genoa to Nezv York — September, 1894 

for such are fragrant with the sweet balm of grace and wisdom. 
Such a soul should exclaim, “Enlighten my mind, give light to 
my intellect, help me with Thy grace that I may happily run the 
paths of Thy sweet commandments. Do not permit me to stumble 
on the way, but make me strong with Thy virtue, that I may 
faithfully do Thy holy will. Work in my weak and unstable 
heart, that I may fervently desire all what Thou wiliest, my Jesus, 
and reject that which Thou wiliest not. Guard Thou Thyself this 
Tabernacle consecrated to Thee.” To this beautiful soul conse¬ 
crated to God, every sign from Jesus is invaluable. Such a Re¬ 
ligious not only performs what is hourly prescribed for her, but 
joyfully anticipates His every desire. She no longer lives for her¬ 
self but for her Beloved; she has, as it were, wings to fly wherever 
the Divine will calls her, and to do and suffer something for 
Jesus. Again, this soul imitates the life of Jesus. He was obedient 
unto death, and the obedient Religious imitates Him in her perfect 
obedience to her Superiors; to her, every command is easy, for 
in obedience her path is safe, her work sure, her spirit strong. 
She is joyful happy, and smiling; she feasts on heavenly fruits; she 
acquires eternal merit at every moment, and follows in the foot¬ 
steps of the Saints. It is obedience which distinguishes true piety 
from false piety. The obedient Religious is victorious over her 
enemies, for as she subjects herself to her Superior, so she acquires 
a perfect mastery over the devil, who was cast out from Heaven 
for disobedience. She has promised to give up her life, rather 
than be unfaithful to her loving Lord. In the exercise of obedience 
she has the merit of martyrdom. In martyrdom we sacrifice the 
body, in obedience we sacrifice the will, our liberty, the supreme 
power of the soul. Obedience is a penance of the mind, a sacrifice 
immensely more pleasing to God than any other sacrifice you 
could voluntarily make of your own choice. One act of obedience 
is more pleasing to God than a thousand other acts of your own 
will. The Saints teach us that it is better to eat by virtue of 
obedience than to fast to gratify one’s own will. Saint Mary 
Magdalen de Pazzi, used to say that the simplest act of obedience 
is greater than the highest act of contemplation. In fact, we read 
in her life that when she was in ecstasy the voice of obedience 
was sufficient to recall her to herself. Learn to love this virtue, 
which forms the character of a true Religious. The readiness 

64 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

of your obedience indicates the readiness of your heart, for the 
hand moves and the feet run when the spirit is fervent. In serv¬ 
ing Jesus Christ, you see Him in your Superior. You must 
consider the orders of your Superior not only as being rightly 
given, but as being the best for you. If thoughts against obedi¬ 
ence come to you, chase them away as you would drive away 
thoughts against our Holy Faith. See in your Superior not only 
the authority of God but the will of God. Remember that holy 
obedience is ordered by God in the Holy Scriptures; therefore 
it is orthodox, and in faith there can be neither deceit nor illusion. 
Conform your will and judgment with that of your Superior, 
and you will attain to a great height of perfection. Do not regard 
the natural gifts and good qualities of your Superior, for by so 
doing you will change Divine Obedience into human Obedience. 
See in her Jesus Christ, and all will be well. Make all your 
actions, however small, precious by obedience not by doing your 
own will. Beg often of Jesus to give you the spirit of Obedience, 
and, as far as it lies in your power, do all you can to merit such 
a grace, and blessed will you be in obtaining such a signal favour. 
Let us trust in the Heart of Jesus, for Its very pulsation is 

It is almost evening now, and we have sailed 389 miles in 
twenty-four hours. The Sisters seem fairly well, sewing and pray¬ 
ing, and meditating either with the aid of a book or by gazing 
upon their sublime surroundings, which excite sublimer thoughts. 
Sister Alexandrine, fearing to forget the days of the week, keeps 
a record of them, and scrupulously reminds the Sisters every morn¬ 
ing of the same. Our fellow-passengers take more care of us than 
they do of themselves; they give us everything they can rather 
than see us suffer. They treat us with much respect and reverence, 
and hold the religious habit in great veneration. Some of the 
merchants ask our advice on their business affairs, and we try to 
comfort them with the inspirations we receive from the Sacred 
Heart. Yesterday a waiter told me how sorry he was that he 
could not speak Italian, so that he might render the Sisters better 
service. He wants me to act as interpreter, but my knowledge 
of English is limited, barely enough to prevent me from losing 
my way or from dying of hunger. When we are on deck there 
is a very nice gentleman who always acts as interpreter. The 

Genoa to Nezv York — September, 1894 65 

Sacred Heart seems to bless us in a very special manner on this 

Well, my dear daughters, help us to praise and bless Him Who 
with so much care and ineffable love guides and comforts us. 

To-morrow, at ten a.m., we shall see the Azores, and we shall 
be able to tell you something about them, though we may not be 
able to visit them as we did Gibraltar. 

At five a.m. we heard a whistle which notified us that the Azores 
were in sight. We, however, did not understand the cause of 
the movement on deck, but it was not long before our friends 
came knocking at our doors to inquire why we were not on deck. 

It really was a lovely sight! Some call the Azores the Azures, 
and they really look like a bit of heaven dropped into the 
Atlantic. What beautiful mountains and hills! The grand slopes 
are covered with a smiling green that at every twenty metres 
changes shade. The grassy plains, the heavy-laden vineyards, the 
leafy woods and enchanting villas make one long to visit these 
charming islands. More than one passenger was desirous of ask¬ 
ing the Captain to stop the steamer, at least for one hour, to see 
these most fertile Portuguese possessions, cut up into fields, 
cities and summer resorts, with everything so pretty. Surely wealth 
and comfort reign there. The good Captain steered the vessel 
in such a way that the cities of these islands could be seen quite 
easily. The city of Punta Delgada could be seen sloping, as it 
were, into the sea. Its towers, steeples and monuments reflected 
in the waters. Just as we were passing, a most beautifully coloured 
rainbow appeared in the sky which seemed to unite the inhabitants 
of the city with the passengers of the steamer. The rainbow 
seemed to announce the Peace of the Divine Heart which draws 
the hearts of all people together in ardent charity. Behind this 
arc there was a still larger and more extended rainbow with lighter 
tints; it was a sight which made us hold our breath. It looked 
like a heavenly light spread out to purify the mind and render it 
capable of raising itself to praise the Maker of Creation, so im¬ 
mense and enchanting and inimitable by man. And, while the 
arched rays of this beautiful rainbow increased in splendour, and 
this unparalleled view fascinated us, big bright drops of rain ad¬ 
vancing at lightning rate sprinkled us all over, and we were 
obliged to take shelter. The Azores are beautiful and healthful; 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

it is a resort for invalids, especially for those who suffer from chest 
trouble. How good God is! 

This morning the rainbow reminded me of our celestial Mother, 
the real Ark, who guides our little company across the sea. Mary 
is heavenly, and in her loveliness and serenity reflects the rays of 
the Divinity. She is a shining dart burning and inflamed with 
charity for us, because the splendours which are in her descend 
from God, Who is not only an ineffable light but a burning fire 
of charity. How many wonders we meet with in the love of 
Mary; how many graces, how many gifts, how many good things 
come from her benevolent hands, and all are sealed with great 
love. One look from her, one thought from her fills us with her 
burning charity. Mary, our sweet Mother, is an ocean of good¬ 
ness, a fire of charity that burns, in flames and transforms. She 
is a sun of perennial light, grace and beneficence. No one is ex¬ 
cluded from her beneficial heat, for her charity is universal and 
continual. To all she opens the bosom of her ineffable goodness; 
she is ready to help all, and even anticipates their desires. 

Mary is like the beautiful olive tree in a field where all can 
see her and have access to her. From her fields flow perennial 
streams of water wherein the thirsty may quench their thirst. 
Do not wonder if you see yourselves overloaded with graces and 
tenderness from Mary, for she dispenses gifts and graces which 
flow like a stream from that immeasurable ocean of love she 
bears us. 

Yesterday, the 14th, we had the last glimpse of the Azores. 
The great Saint George did not seem half so beautiful as Saint 
Michael, though it also had smiling green mountains and valleys 
and enchanting slopes. In one of the great cities we saw a very 
beautiful and artistically built Cathedral, but no one could tell 
me the name of the city. There were several boats full of people, 
but none of them could approach us owing to the formidable waves 
created by the movement of the Fulda, They waved their hands 
and handkerchiefs to us. How I longed to tell some of them to 
go and visit Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. They 
certainly would do so, Tm sure. All on board seem quite disposed 
to believe what we say about God. They are very reserved in 
manner and speech. We united with the Portuguese and Flemings 
in sending our greetings to the Churches. We could also see 


Genoa to New York — September, 1894 

volcanoes; some were extinct, whilst the sharply-pointed cones of 
others seemed about to burst at any moment and send out fire, 
smoke and lava. 

The scenery of the Azores has disappeared, and rainbows succeed 
one another, two at a time. The passengers are surprised, but we 
discern the eye of Mary looking down upon us, as though to console 
us. Then another thing happened which astonished those Sisters 
who are strangers to sea voyages. A huge number of water-birds 
appeared. The sea, disturbed by a north wind, tossed the vessel, 
and the passengers began to whisper to one another and then to 
exclaim aloud, “A storm, a storm!” Like the Apostles, they 
gathered around me, and begged me to tell the sea to be calm. I 
had to tell them they had little faith and little courage, also that 
it needed bad weather to bring a storm. If one did happen we 
need not fear, for we are travelling in the Name of Jesus and under 
the mantle of Mary. Neither sea, winds nor billows will frighten 
us. Our faith obliges us to trust in God, and that trust will make 
us strong even unto death. The sea still continues to be rough, 
but to-day the barometer marks “Fair Weather,” so we hope to 
recover the calm that marked our passage from the Mediterranean 
to the Azores. Sister Constance asked me if I would allow her 
to complain aloud, but I told her to repeat the words, “How 
wonderful!” This she does, though she can hardly bear it at 
all. Sister Pia cannot get up, so she remains in her berth. She 
is able to eat whatever is brought to her. Sister Xavier is not 
feeling well, but she keeps me company on deck, as she does not 
like her berth. Sister Alacoque is quite like a seaman, healthy 
and active. She is still infirmarian, and knows how to make 
the Sisters eat. This is the best thing she can do, for it is very 
bad not to be able to eat whilst travelling, for fasting increases 
the nauseous feeling and one suffers more. Sister Frances suffers 
silently and serenely, and forces herself to eat for the sake of 
obedience. Sister Claver suffers more than anyone else. Our 
Sisters have made a Heaven of their cabins. One Sister dreams 
she is at Holy Mass but cannot receive Holy Communion, and then 
another sees a Saint who comes to console them. They are always 
praying. The goodness of God is so great that He consoles us in 
a thousand ways. To raise us up, to provide for us, to console 
us and to enrich us. He has thousands of ways. Have faith, my 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

dear daughters; whatever you ask you shall receive, for by prayer 
born of faith you can obtain everything. If, sometimes, we do 
not get what we want, let us examine ourselves and see whether 
the cause does not lie in the want of proper dispositions, perhaps a 
lack of proper spirit, of fervour, of supernatural motives; perhaps 
our prayers are said with the lips only, with weariness, in a hurry 
or without recollection and perseverance. My good daughters, 
how prayer enlivens faith and does everything! Prayer and 
Faith united are powerful beyond thought. If the Saints have 
worked wonders and prodigies, they did it through prayer with 
faith. Have faith! He who prays with faith has fervour, and 
fervour is the fire of prayer. This mysterious fire has the power 
of consuming all our faults and imperfections, and of giving to our 
actions, vitality, beauty and merit. The fervour produced by a 
lively faith is like a shower of limpid crystal waters that revive 
and animate. It lightens all our sufferings and troubles, and 
purifies all that is faulty and earthly, and gives everything its 
proper virtue, value and splendour. But, note, I am not speaking 
of sensible devotion, but of that substantial fervour which is the 
product of a lively faith. I refer to that fervour and ardour of 
spirit which consist in the union of the soul with God in perfect 
conformity of our will with the Will of God. This fervour you 
will obtain by keeping a mastery over the powers of the soul, and 
by watchfulness over your senses, rejecting, as far as it lies in 
your power, all useless, vain and inopportune thoughts. A soul 
recollected in God receives in its prayers the fervour of God, there¬ 
fore it can obtain from Him all it desires. 

Accustom yourselves to unite your prayers with those of Jesus 
Christ, so that yours coming in contact with His shall be purified 
and sanctified. Be assured that after Jesus Himself has purified 
them. He will present them to His Eternal Father. Pray always 
with Jesus, always remembering that a soul united with Jesus can 
do everything. Bear in mind this maxim, “Omnia possum in 
Eo qui me confortat.'' Have faith; pray with faith, and good 
measure and overflowing measure shall be given unto you. Oh, 
Faith, beautiful daughter of Heaven, come, to our souls and let 
us honour thee; thou who hast enveloped us with the beautiful 
mantle of baptism, and hast always enriched us by means of the 
other Sacraments! 

Genoa to New Yof'k — September, 1894 


Another gorgeous day! The sea is so calm and serene that one 
hardly perceives the movement of the vessel! Everyone is up 
and well. Tired of the rolling and the pitching of the steamer, 
we said our prayers last evening. We began by humbling our¬ 
selves, knowing that humility is the secret that penetrates the 
walls of the Holy City and the rock of the Omnipotent. Humility 
is the foundation of every meritorious and virtuous work and of 
prayer. It is impossible to please God without humility; it is a 
golden scale that measures the strength of our prayers, and it is, 
therefore, the measure of their weight in God’s own scales. The 
humblest obtain the most graces, the least humble obtain the 
least grace, for it is written: God resists the proud and gives 
grace to the humble. ‘'Deus superbis resistit; humilibus autem 
dat gratiam.” Chase away all sentiments of pride and self-love 
if you want God to be with you. God will be our strength, and 
if we are humble our prayers will ascend, like a sweet perfume, 
to the throne of Heaven, where they will be fully granted. The 
humble Religious is like a bunch of Spikenard, which, though the 
smallest and humblest of flowers, is one of the most fragrant. 
Spread about you the perfume of humility, study profoundly this 
celestial virtue until you possess it completely and perfectly, and 
then you will be able to repeat some day, when this life is over, 
with the Spouse of the Canticles, '‘Nardus mea dedit odorem 
suavitatis,” while the loving Saviour, delighting in your sweet 
virtue, will give you the eternal kiss of Peace. 

The Franciscan Father enquires daily how we are faring, and 
tells us the Feast of the day, and thus helps Sister Alexandrine, 
who, having been ill these past two days, has given up keeping her 
diary, and so we run the risk of losing our bearings. I have met 
kind friends on my journeys, but never anyone who exceeded the 
kindness of our good Captain. He is just like a father, always 
anxious about everyone being well provided for. He especially 
watches over the Sisters and sees we have the best of attention. 
The Sisters are having recourse to the Holy Souls before the 
weather changes. These Blessed Souls cannot help themselves, 
but they can do so much for us. Let us have pity on them; let 
them have the principal part of our prayers, for the mitigation 
of their sufferings depends upon our charity and our prayers. One 
might almost say the keys of their prison have been consigned 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

to us. The Holy Souls love their Divine Spouse, they desire Him, 
they sigh for Him, but they need the cooling hand of benefactors 
to cancel their debts. These doves would love to fly to the bosom 
of their God, but, woe to them if no pitying hand severs their 
chains of fire. Come, beloved daughters, draw down upon them 
a celestial dew which vvill cool and allay their inconceivable heat. 
Your prayers will be the dew that will quench the flames of Divine 
Justice. Comply with the just desires of these souls. You will 
be doing much to your own advantage if you relieve them by 
offering for them your Holy Communions, Indulgences, Masses 
and all satisfactory works. This, you see, will be a work of perfect 
charity, of immense glory to God, of great joy to the Church 
Militant, Suffering and Triumphant, because with your prayers 
you will send many saintly souls to the Kingdom of the 
Blessed. Have no fear that you will lose your prayers, indulgences 
and satisfactory works by giving them to the Holy Souls, but, 
rather, rest assured that by so doing you will become rich in grace 
and merits in this life and in sublime glory in Paradise. Rest 
satisfied also that the intrinsic merit of this work of suffrage 
remains always with you, being of its nature inalienable; only the 
portion that gives atonement goes to the Holy Souls. Giving up, 
then, this portion of our works to the Holy Souls, which some do 
by means of the Heroic Act, we do nothing less than convert every 
act of satisfaction into merit, and be assured that in the scales of 
God one degree of grace and merit is of more value than all the 
works of atonement we may apply to the Holy Souls. Be generous 
to the Holy Souls, for he who gives shall receive, and he who is 
merciful shall obtain mercy. The souls whom we set free will 
l^ecome so many advocates, so many protectors who will pray for 
us, intercede for us, and, what is more, they will interest themselves 
in our Eternal Salvation. 

The 21st. The sea is now as smooth as a table. Our sailing is 
delightful. The passengers are very happy and come to thank us, 
for they say they owe everything to our prayers. The Captain 
says that each of us must bring a lovely day, and, as we are fifteen 
in number, if we have fifteen fine days there will be a surplus of 
four days’ fine weather, for the Fulda takes only eleven days from 
Genoa to New York. At present all the Sisters are feeling well. 


Genoa to New York — September, 1894 

I always feel better at sea than on land, so the passengers call me 
a sea-lion. But, by way of a change, I am sea-sick to-day. All 
the passengers were quite surprised that I should have to pay the 
toll at the very end of the voyage. This impost is generally 
exacted at the beginning. But Jesus, the Master, does as He 
wills. We have but to praise and thank Him, for everything is 
good that He permits. 

We have entered the Gulf Stream where everyone says the sea 
is very rough, but up to now we have enjoyed wonderfully fine 
weather. Everyone is astonished. So we have reason to praise 
and thank God for His goodness in commanding the elements to 
adapt themselves to our comfort and convenience. Love the good 
God, for the sky, earth and sea tell us to love Him! The immense 
ocean, set with wonderful gems, reveals clearly the ineffable 
solicitude (with graces and blessings) with which our loving 
Creator surrounds us. We look at the sea, the earth with its 
inexhaustible fecundity, the firmament with its stars, and the 
whole Universe reflects God’s attributes. His power. His wisdom 
and goodness, and we cannot but exclaim with admiration, “How 
wonderful is God in His works!’’ The sisters are quite bright 
again to-day, so on deck we found a nice cosy corner where we 
enjoyed our lecture on humility. We then read a chapter on 
Charity, that sublime virtue which gives a foretaste of Heaven. 
Those souls united in Charity peacefully repose in God, and await 
with security great graces from God’s goodness. Magnanimous 
and generous souls are those united in Charity; they are blessed 
by God; they soar on high; they ascend to Heaven, where they 
repose at God’s feet, and He, rejoicing in them, crowns them with 
glory. Be charitable, my dear daughters, love one another in 
holy love in the Adorable Heart of Jesus. Sacrifice yourselves 
willingly for your Sisters; be meek towards one another; never 
be sharp or resentful with one another. Try and be the one who 
always soothes with the balm of peace. Learn how to use that 
precious magnet of the Charity of the Adorable Heart to Jesus to 
alleviate pain, to dress wounds and to console in tribulation. 
Admire what is good in your Sisters, pity their faults and do not 
envy anyone. What a wonderful sight to see so many souls of 
different nations and different languages united in one religious 

72 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

family, joined by the ties of the sweet Charity of the Adorable 
Heart of Jesus. 

Though the distance is widening more and more each day, still 
Tm nearer to you in spirit than ever. Not a moment passes 
without my thinking of you and working with you. You must 
do the same and accompany me in the spirit of Holy Charity. 
Help me with your prayers and sacrifices. When you wish to 
console me, withdraw into the mystic sanctuary of your soul to 
see if you have acquired the sweet virtue of Charity. I could 
desire nothing more. Love all in the Adorable Heart of Jesus, 
as the Saints love one another in Heaven; love, and God will 
take care of the rest. Study Charity, love Charity, let Charity 
rule your souls, and then you can repeat triumphantly, ‘‘Dotavit 
me Deus dote bona,’’ as the Holy Ghost says. Yesterday the staff 
were making great preparations to protect us from the icebergs 
of Newfoundland, as we shall be very close to them to-night, but 
the precautions were not needed, for the Blessed Virgin covered 
us with her mantle, the Holy Souls interceded for us, and the 
result was that we had rain during the whole night, which proved 
very advantageous, for the sea became quite calm. Fresh 
water and salty water mixed together form a calm sea, and this 
lesson teaches us how to behave with those who are against us. 
Raise your hearts on high and accept God’s will without murmuring 
against or criticising those people who afflict us. Pity them and 
excuse them as did David with regard to his enemy, for, on hearing 
himself reviled, he did not defend himself, but said. Let them 
talk, because it is God who permits their speaking against me; it 
is little, indeed, they are saying, I merit more.” Thus behaves 
a soul according to the Heart of God. If we become possessors 
of such virtues, we would become Saints very easily. Never 
murmur, never criticise; if you are inclined to use your tongue, use 
it against yourself. Or, better still, as Saint Francis de Sales in¬ 
culcates, say neither good nor bad of yourself. To-day on deck 
(I spoke of this yesterday) we were able to enjoy the sun and to 
say our prayers and make our meditations together. As we were 
rapt in contemplation, the sun, covered with graceful clouds, 
formed, as it were, with its rays of gold, the border of Our 
Lady’s Mantle. It seemed to us that Mary, the perfect image 
of Jesus, was gazing down upon us. As a cloud brightened by 


Genoa to New York — September, 1894 

the rays of the sun becomes beautifully bright, so does Mary, the 
perfect image of Jesus, appear brilliant in her Divine Beauty. The 
fact is, that we imagined we saw Jesus and Mary, beautiful and 
refulgent, looking down upon us and offering us their patronage 
so that we might become converted. 

But how shall we obtain Mary’s patronage and protection? By 
imitating her. Impress on your minds the life of Mary, her 
sentiments, her habits, her Immaculate Purity, her words, her 
actions. Beg Our Divine Lord to imprint, with the fire of His 
Divine Heart, Mary’s image on you, and to make you loving 
models of His Immaculate Mother. 

Mary is the Mysterious Book of Predestination to glory; she is 
lovable, love her. She is sublime and glorious, praise her. She 
is benign and merciful, appeal to her. Mary is your Mother, 
Mistress and Foundress, obey and fulfil her desires. Mary speaks 
to you plainly; listen to her, trust her with all your affections, 
she will alienate them from creatures, and you, as angelic spirits, 
will take refuge in the Heart of Jesus. Offer yourselves often to 
Mary, pray, work, suffer, recreate yourselves, rest and walk with 
Mary and beneath the gaze of Mary, and never sadden her in 
the least. 

Yesterday, to our great surprise, the Captain invited us to go 
over the steamer. I should like to know how to describe the 
complicated machinery of this great vessel, which transports 
thousands of persons from the Old World to the New World. 
The steam power used by the propeller when driving forward 
this ship is that of fifteen thousand horses. The noise made by 
the propeller when out of the water is great. I commend you to 
Sister Frances whose knowledge of ships and their appurtenances 
is more extensive than mine. She will give you more satisfactory 
details than I am able. She will explain either out of the store 
of her own knowledge, or by reference to ancient and modern 
works on the subject. I can see quite a library of such books 
spread out in her berth. I was advised to ask Sister Xavier for 
information as she knows something of these things, but she 
replied, “Those who want to know the sea, let them come and 
see.” Sister Ignatius set out to give you a very full and learned 
account of everything, but so far she has written not more than 
four lines. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

The Captain asked Father Mazzetti to celebrate Mass, but the 
Father had not the necessary vestments, and we had no Hosts. 
Taking advantage, however, of the Captain's exquisite kindness, 
we all assembled, both passengers and Sisters, in the largest space 
we could find and recited the Rosary, priests and passengers 
alternately, just as we do in the Convent for our Benefactors. 
This was followed by a sung Litany. We formed quite a fine 
choir, and our voices, which filled the air, seemed to arouse in the 
souls of those who stood around (no less than a thousand in num¬ 
ber) a host of pious sentiments. A beautiful sermon was given on 
the day's Gospel by the Father, who spoke with great zeal and 
emotion, touching the hearts of all and bringing tears to the eyes 
of many. Then followed hymns to the Sacred Heart and Our Lady, 
and other prayers. Owing partly to the religious habit of the 
Father, which made him seem like Saint Anthony returned to life, 
and partly to the solemnity of the devotions, our poor countrymen 
almost thought they were in church, though there was not even a 
Cross to be seen. After the Father's simple blessing, they accosted 
us and asked us why we did not sing the “Tantum Ergo." 

Now that the voyage is at an end, we feel it parting from these 
poor people who trusted us so much and for whom we have been 
able to do some good. Oh! if only we could again impress 
upon them the happiness that awaits them if they are faithful to 
prayer and to the Sacraments. If we could make them under¬ 
stand that Heaven is the great prize or reward granted to good 
Christians, to those who are faithful to the laws of Jesus Christ! 
Oh, Heaven! Who can conceive or express the inconceivable 
delights that God has prepared for those who serve Him with that 
internal and external worship He requires of us? The Holy 
Prophet spoke well when he said, "Rejoice and be glad ye who 
love the Lord." "Drink large draughts of that river of peace." 
"Fill yourselves with joy, glory and happiness, because the Lord 
has said: I shall pour upon Jerusalem celestial torrents of glory 
that will inundate it with the purest consolations and delights." 
On that most blessed Eternal Day we shall be rapt in ecstasies of 
love and gratitude, and there will be an immense jubilee contem¬ 
plating God face to face. We shall be rapt in His infinite beauty, 
illuminated by His light, inebriated by His peace, fortified by His 
Divine Consolations, because to see God and to contemplate His 


Genoa to New York — September, 1894 

Divine Beauty means to love Him with the most pure and most 
perfect love, and that love will augment in us joy and content¬ 
ment and the enjoyment of our souls. Speak often of Heaven to 
those who approach you, make them love it as well as the virtues 
which are required before we can be admitted to our blessed 
country. For if you know how to draw souls there by your zeal, 
your good example and your exemplary religious conduct, you 
may be assured the Gates will be opened for you also. 

I wanted to go to Heaven, but what with one thing and another 
we have entered the New York Bay. The Superintendent of the 
Customs House Officers and Doctor are all on board. We are 
requested to give our names to a New York representative whilst 
the Fulda is being towed down the bay by three tugs. We 
disembarked at Hoboken Docks, where we were met by our dear 
American Sisters, who received us with great joy. A Customs 
Officer came up, marked our baggage and asked us to say a prayer 
for him. 

I found everything in perfect order here, with much to console 
me. I cannot, for the present, give you further details, for I 
have a great number of friends to greet. I will, however, send 
you further news as soon as I embark on my next voyage. 

In the meantime I commend myself to your good prayers, as 
well as my intentions and new enterprises for the good of souls 
and the glory of God. I’ll work hard and you’ll pray, I’m sure, 
adding some extra sacrifices, especially that of self-abasement. 
Offer everything as a perfect holocaust to the Adorable Heart of 
Jesus, Who loves us so much and has done so much to merit for 
us our beautiful and sublime vocation. 

May Jesus bless you and enclose you in His Sacred Heart. 

Your affectionate Mother in Corde Jesu, 

Frances Saverio Cabrini. 


Orieand to j^t 



A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

2Mh May, 1895. 

My dear Daughters, 

Peace be to you, so that you may always remain 
in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

I must keep my promise to devote all the time of my voyage in 
describing the little adventures, with their impressions, which have 
occurred, and, though the vessel is still sailing down the Mississippi, 
I must fly across to you in the guise of a consoling angel to console 
you with my visit. You, the chosen portions of Christ's flock, are 
destined to console His Divine Heart; you, who by your work, 
prayers and obedience, can procure the glory of that Heart, have 
become by your precious vocation the chosen portion of my heart. 

I travel, work, suffer, meet with a thousand difficulties, but all 
these are nothing as long as you are faithful, observant and 
generous, and prove yourselves true members of the Institute. 
At four-thirty a.m. the alarm clock warned us it was time to arise 
and finish packing. The Chaplain began Mass at five-thirty a.m., 
when we received the dearest token that we could carry away 
with us—the Maker of the immense ocean we are about to cross. 
After the reception of Our Divine Lord, calm and joyous. Mother 
Gabriella and I started on our journey accompanied by our dear 
Sisters and the distinguished lawyer, Mr. Marinoni, who at all 
costs insisted upon accompanying us in his own carriage to the 
steamer. We started off though the rain was falling in torrents 
and the city so badly flooded that the horses could hardly make 
their way along. It required great courage, which Mr. Marinoni 
fortunately possessed, to overcome the difficulties that lay before 
us, for he knew that in ordinary circumstances the steamer waits 
for no one, and the time of departure was fixed for eight a.m. 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

However, Mr. Fallon, the distinguished representative of the 
Company by whose line we are travelling, fearing we should not 
get to the steamer in time, and not wishing us to lose our 
connection, postponed the hour of departure by himself arriving 
an hour and a half late, for he knew the steamer could not set out 
until he had arrived on board. Of course, we never expected so 
much consideration, but we arrived on the steamer at seven-thirty 
a.m. Mr. Fallon is an excellent man. I shall never forget him 
or be sufficiently grateful to him for his generosity towards us. 
As soon as he heard of my arrival in New Orleans, he offered me 
a free passage to Port Limon, a distance of only sixteen miles 
from Colon, Panama, where our House is stationed, thus saving 
me the expense of a hundred dollars (£20). He recommended us 
to the Captain and Head Steward, and we have the best of every¬ 
thing, with a very kind staff which seems willing to do anything 
for us. 

May 25th, 1895. ‘'Man proposes, but God disposes.” This time 
I was too sure of myself as well as the good Sisters, who had 
prepared for me a large number of nice sharp pencils and ruled 
paper, so that I might write a volume. 

This time I am not as good a sailor as usual. Yesterday I did 
my best not to give in and to do honours to the Captain's table, 
but I never longed so much to get away, and was forced to 
contradict my saying that I never suffer from sea-sickness. For- 
tunate^ly I managed to stay on until the end of the meal, but 
shortly after I became the faithful companion of Mother Gabriella 
and had to resort to the expedient of lying very still. At the 
moment of writing I am feeling much better, and to-morrow I 
hope to be able to write more, though I cannot promise for fear of 
not being able to keep my word. We must abandon ourselves 
to God’s Holy Will, reposing in Him and promising all in Him. 
How good the Sacred Heart is to us! What does He expect 
from us for so much love? Nothing but a perfect trust in Him, 
a continual endeavour to conform our lives with His crucified life, 
taking Him as a model in all phases of life, walking in the path of 
His holy love as becomes those consecrated to His Holy Service. 
Blessed shall we be if we remain faithful to the Beloved of our 
soul, putting Him in possession of our whole heart, our \ov% our 


New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 

affections, our inclinations, our feelings. Know, children, the 
Sacred Heart wants all or nothing. He wants no divided heart, 
no divisions. Woe to us if we have anxious affections for 
creatures or for ourselves. All must be placed in the Most Holy 
Heart of Jesus, all without reserve. 

26th May, I slept sweetly and profoundly in the Sacred Heart 
of Jesus all last night, and I am feeling very well this morning 
and quite myself again. The sun is shining in all its splendour, 
but the heat of its rays is tempered by a pure and gentle breeze 
which renders our cosy corner on deck a most delightful place. 
The Captain has an awning put up especially for our comfort. 
The sky is clear and covered with white clouds, which now and 
then take the form of large shining masses. These clouds seem 
to remind us of the Novena of the Holy Ghost, and that the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus is calling us, as He did His Apostles of old 
to come apart from the multitude, and even here in the middle of 
the ocean, far away from the noise of the crowd, to implore the 
coming of the Holy Ghost. Our loving Saviour has promised to 
send the Holy Spirit, but we know also that the Divine promises 
are fulfilled by means of prayer and in the exercise of sublime 
charity and union with God. 

Though Charity signifies that form of union which necessarily 
unites all members of Religious Orders, nevertheless there is 
another union which each one should possess within herself. Our 
Divine Lord said that prayer is heard when two are united in His 
name—for example, when the exterior man and interior man are 
united; the soul and the body; the subjection of the body to 
the spirit; these two must join together. So, to pray we must 
unite the body with its feelings to the soul with its imaginations 
and desires, with its superior powers, memory, understanding and 
will. Christ then shall be in your midst, united in His name, 
helping you to pray with efficacy. He cannot pray whose soul 
is in disorder, whose mind is wandering with a thousand useless, 
vain and anxious thoughts. The Spirit of God shuns, such a soul, 
and so the poor soul, deprived of help from on high, languishes 
little by little and gradually loses the spirit of prayer. 

Is it necessary for us to make the Novena of the Holy Ghost? 
Our Lady made it; the Apostles and the disciples made it, by 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

command of Jesus Christ. This shows, therefore, the need we 
have of making it, especially if we want to possess the fervour of 
the early Christians, that spirit which makes us true followers of 
Christ and true Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Oh! if only 
devotion to the Holy Ghost inflamed the world, then should we 
see the face of the earth renewed, and Faith and Charity would 
triumph over everything. “Emitte spiritum tuum et creabuntur 
Et renovabis faciem terrae.’' 

If you desire to correct your faults, and you feel that you cannot; 
if you languish with tepidity and it seems you can do no good, but, 
still you wish to be fervent, try to be devout to the Holy Ghost, 
invoking Him often and with your whole hearts. Excite in your¬ 
selves strong desires to receive Him, repeat often to Him ‘‘Cor 
mundum crea in me, Deus, et Spiritum rectum innova in visceribus 
meis. Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui, et spiritu principali confirma 
me.'’ If you invoke Him with a humble and trusting heart, filled 
with good desires, He will descend with His blessed light and 
inflaming fire; He will come and penetrate into the very centre 
of your heart, purifying it, changing it, enlightening it, inflaming 
it, and consuming it with the flames of His holy and divine love. 

As soon as we begin to desire Him, He begins to favour us, 
because pious and holy desires are like the forerunners of God in 
the soul, and as soon as we, by the grace of God, form a holy 
desire, the Holy Ghost, as Saint Paul says, will work in us and by 
us with ineffable sighs. Let us suplicate Him, then, to inspire 
us with ardent desires which will prepare us to receive Him. 

You, dear daughters, know what weight our desires have with 
the Heart of Jesus, because many and great and special are the 
graces that the Omnipotent has given you from that first moment 
that you longed to consecrate yourself totally to His Divine Service. 
You, yourselves, surrounded and weighed down, I might say, by 
the sweet weight of so many and innumerable graces received 
from Him, often exclaim, “Why so much grace and this foretaste 
of Heaven?" It was our loving Lord, wounded in the depths 
of His Divine Heart by your ardent desire of being His without 
reserve, and making Him loved and known to all, even at the cost 
of life itself. Who put before your eyes, like a victorious army in 
battle array, this immense number of singular benefits and special 
graces that He lovingly bestows upon you so that you are capti- 


New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 

vated by the strong ties of His ardent love for you. And that 
Lord Who had destined you all for Himself, listening to your 
sublime desires, how lovingly does He not watch over you continu¬ 
ally ? What lights, knowledge and holy affections does He not 
give you? He surrounds you with Holy Fear, He uproots from 
your heart the love of earthly things, He encloses you in His Holy 
and Divine Love, He frees you from the snares of the infernal 
dragon. He strengthens you when falling. He raises you and 
re-establishes you in your original state of peace. How consoling 
is the thought of God’s goodness! The Holy Prophet David 
mentions very often in his psalms the kindness of God, awakening 
in his own heart deep sentiments of gratitude; he, whose heart 
was made like unto the beautiful heart of God. Yes, every grace 
which you have received is a special token of God’s love for you ; 
the multiplicity and frequency of graces does not diminish, but, 
rather, increases the value and renders it more valuable. 

Blessed will you be, my daughters, if, knowing the gifts of God, 
you render yourselves more worthy to receive greater gifts. 

Know that gratitude for God’s benefits is one of the riches of 
the soul, and that, on the contrary, ingratitude dries up the 
fountain of Divine graces. Give your tribute of gratitude often 
to the most loving Jesus. Consider with frequency the graces, 
both general and particular, that you have received, taking a 
retrospective view of your lives. If you meditate well, you will 
perceive the torrents of these salutary waters of Divine grace 
which have inundated your soul at the various stages and different 
circumstances of your past lives. With how much care has not 
the most dear Jesus always watched over you! How admirably 
He guided you in the way of eternal Salvation! For you God 
has worked many wonders because He loves you well, but remem¬ 
ber that all He has done for you up to the present is but a slight 
pledge of His great love for you. If you are faithful in His Holy 
Service, He will work new wonders in you. 

Be faithful to what you have undertaken, try to understand the 
prodigies of love which God has worked in you, learn the language 
of the Saints, who, on gazing at the heavens, earth and sea, and 
the starry firmament, repeated within themselves that holy refrain, 
“Love God and serve Him with fidelity.” Oh, how great and 
wonderful is God in all His works! How we should love Him, 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

my dear daughters! But whilst I am speaking the steamer is 
sailing rapidly through the waves, almost carried by a very 
favourable wind. 

We have traversed a long stretch of sea in the meantime, and I 
have passed Cuba without having noticed it, as this steamer is going 
straight from New Orleans to Port Limon. We are very fortunate 
this time in not having to visit there, owing to the war which is 
going on, for we might be suspected as enemies and fired upon, 
as was done to an American torpedo vessel. We are in mid-ocean, 
surrounded by the immensity of the sea and a very vast horizon. 
The waves are mild and placid; they are like an obedient soul 
responding to the order of the Supreme Maker, who bids them 
leave us quiet during this voyage. 

The first day of our voyage I said the waters of the Mississippi 
were like those of the ocean, and now I say that those of the ocean 
are like those of the Mississippi. The steamer is long and narrow, 
and consequently sails rapidly, but we experience some straight 
rocking now and then when the wind is very strong. Yesterday 
the sea was somewhat rough, and the waves gave us a little 
sprinkling in the face. I paid no attention to this improvised 
shower, knowing that a sea spray is always beneficial, and that 
people go to great expense to enjoy sea bathing. However, last 
night I felt my face all contracted. At first I couldn't imagine what 
it was, but this morning I found my face all swollen and of a scarlet 
red. How funny! I never expected such a thing. Did I not 
feel well, I might imagine that I had erysipelas and so withdraw 
from the fresh air. But, seeing that I have never had such a 
disease I regard this as a little trick of the sea, by way of a 
change, and I remain on deck enjoying the most pure air, this 
immense gift of God, which refreshes me both spiritually and 

27th day. The day is gorgeous; the sea is very quiet, the 
steamer is sailing rapidly, with no movement, respecting, as it were, 
our weakness. 

Notwithstanding all this. Mother Gabriella will not get up, for 
only by lying down can she avoid being sea-sick. As soon as she 
feels a little better she comes to keep me company. She is, 
however, always smiling and calm. We have the Captain's servant. 


New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 

who is eager to please us and gives us everything we need. 
As to myself, I am a perfect fright, face all swollen, eyes closed, 
and a face as red as scarlet. On board there is no doctor, no 
infirmarian, no one who understands about illnesses, not even 
a veterinary such as Saint Francis Xavier once met. I cannot 
make out what it is ; I have no temperature, I do not feel 
sick, nor am I afraid. So I have decided to remain on deck and 
watch the beautiful fish that play on the waves, and enjoy the 
pleasure of writing to you as long as I am able before my swollen 
eyes are closed altogether. 

Why should I be afraid of travelling under the guidance of the 
Holy Spirit, for we are still within His Novena and in the company 
of the Apostles under the immediate direction of the Most Holy 
Virgin, our tender Mother? Then, again, have I not the blessing 
of the Holy Father that accompanies, strengthens and consoles 
me? As if His own personal blessing was not enough before my 
leaving. He again blessed me through the illustrious and most 
reverend Monsignor Radini Tedeschi, which fact encourages me 
more than ever in these voyages and Missions, which the Most 
Sacred Heart extends and enlarges to His greater glory every 

Frequently I cross the seas, with the rapidity allowed by the 
progress of science, which every day provides the most rapid 
steamers, but, believe me, they are very slow indeed when com¬ 
pared with the rapidity with which the Sacred Heart works in His 
Vineyard. How fruitful is the blessing of the Holy Father! I would 
wish everyone to understand this, and put confidence in the Pope. 
Who is the Holy Father? He is the representative of God, of His 
authority and His majesty amongst men. The Holy Father is the 
instrument of the Holy Spirit; the depository of the treasures and 
secrets of God. He is the Key of Knowledge for the Christian 
People! he has in his keeping the power to loose and bind sin. The 
voice of the Holy Father is the voice of God; his word is the word 
of God. He is the living ark of the new alliance in which is found 
the Divine Law, the Manna of Celestial Doctrine, the precious vase 
of gold, in which is contained the purity of the Catholic Faith. 
The Pope is the guide of the people, the ark of salvation for all. 
He, in the name of Jesus Christ, has the virtue to raise and save 
Society from its sickness and oppression, if only it will allow itself 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

to be cured and healed by him. This work has already begun in 
the country of the Angels—England—and is now going on in 
America, where a great number of Protestants revere, respect 
and venerate the Holy Father. How often, even in the midst of 
'Catholics, one hesitates to mention the Holy Father for fear of 
hearing his august person insulted, but it is not so to-day among 
Protestants. I have had personal proof of this, for the best news 
I could give the twelve doctors of our Hospital in New York was 
that I had the blessing and encouragement of the Holy Father. 
So also a number of pious objects blessed by the Holy Father were 
the gifts most appreciated by some Protestant people. 

Believe me, my dear daughters, there are many Protestants who 
have almost the same practices as we, only they do not see their 
way to submit to the Holy Father, and attach themselves to the 
true Ark of Salvation; but the hour seems to be drawing near. 
Pray, then, pray that these good brethren of ours may understand 
thoroughly the celestial relations that exist between Jesus Christ 
and the Holy Father, that they may ally themselves to him, 
belong to the same family, the same fold, under the one shepherd, 
the universal pastor through whom we are united by the express 
will of God. Pray, then, pray with your whole hearts, and, as 
true Missionaries, offer yourselves as victims to the Sacred Heart 
to obtain such a grace, so that while the harvest is growing the 
enemy may not sow cockle. 

But if these people wish to enter the true fold, the pastors, who 
are not real pastors but mercenaries, are not of the same mind. 
I mean the non Catholic ministers. I should never finish naming 
them if I continued. These do not want to become Catholics and 
to unite themselves under the banner of truth wherein alone there 
is true salvation. Why ? Because they are not validly ordained and 
cannot unite themselves with the Church like the simple faithful, 
and because also they are afraid of losing their lucrative positions. 
You may imagine, then, how they try to keep their followers away 
from the Catholic Church, so as not to lose them and their own 
huge salaries. We must, therefore, pray much that the Holy Spirit 
may enlighten each individual soul, in order that all, in the presence 
of the brilliant light of the Divine Sun, knowing and confessing the 
one true Faith, the supreme truth, in union with the H'^ly Father, 

New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 85 

may be cured of their false ideas and aspirations, and brought to 
see the error of their wrong tendencies and desires. 

Pray much without tiring, because the salvation of these people 
does not depend on material force, nor on the vain science that 
clouds and darkens the intellect; neither does it depend on arms 
and human industries, nor on sterile and diplomatic congresses, nor 
on worldly or earthly means. The grace of their salvation can 
only come from the Heart of that Supreme Pastor Who called 
together the Apostles, and promised grace and blessings to all their 
successors who remained faithful to the foundation rock, the Holy 

Pray much, dear daughters, for the Sisters who are scattered in 
the various Missions of the United States, that the good God may 
assist and enlighten them and render their work fruitful in the 
conversion of many souls. Yes! pray much during the Hour of 
Adoration, because if our efforts and our words are not made 
fruitful by Jesus, we shall never do any good. The conversion 
of sinners and the sanctification of souls does not depend on sterile 
cold human eloquence, or the grace of style and flowery rhetoric, 
but on the fructifying grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus alone can give 
life to words and arguments. He enlightens the mind, moves the 
will, sows virtue, and animates us to undertake holy and perfect 

And it is Jesus Himself Who speaks through the voice that 
teaches with zeal and faith. Who works prodigies in souls, renews 
miracles and performs wonders. With what wisdom does the 
good God work in the heart of man! He respects our liberty, 
but enlightens with truth and divine light, moves and invites all 
to the celestial reward. Yes! dear daughters, it is Jesus our 
Beloved, Who by His death conquered hell and sin and won from 
His Heavenly Father, as His inheritance, all peoples. How con¬ 
soling to think that we and all the people we would like to convert 
are the Kingdom of Christ, the hereditary portion, the most precious 
inheritance of Jesus! And how Jesus rejoices in the conversion of 
one sinful soul! What joy does not the recovery of one sheep give 
to His Divine Heart? How He clasps it in His loving arms! 
And can we not multiply these joys of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 
by our prayers, works, and the winning over of hearts and souls 
who will love Him much? Let us imitate the charity of the 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Adorable Heart of Jesus in the salvation of souls, and make our¬ 
selves all to all to win all to Jesus. If we act thus, what a harvest 
of virtues and merits we shall reap; for what we do to these souls, 
God considers as done to Himself. He marks in the book of life 
all the trials, troubles and crosses that we suffer for the salvation 
and sanctification of souls. He enumerates the days, hours and 
moments that we spend in this holy exercise, and all will be fully 
rewarded by the sovereign goodness of the Most Holy Heart of 
Jesus. Even a charitable word spoken will be amply remunerated 
because everything done for Jesus and with Jesus is great. 

2Sth day. Yesterday, at mid-day, my eyes were almost closed 
by the swelling, and I had to stop writing. To-day the swelling 
has greatly diminished, but there are white blisters on my forehead 
which give me the appearance of a leper. How strange and wonder¬ 
ful! No one here can tell me what it is, but it is consoling to 
abandon oneself to the most Adorable and most Loving Heart of 
Jesus, for whilst we are far away from our Sisters, and between 
the sky and water where no human comfort can reach us, we 
know that the Heart of Jesus watches over His Spouses just the 
same. To-morrow we shall arrive at Port Limon, and, through 
the kind offices of some good people there to whom we have been 
recommended by our excellent protector, Mr. L. G. Fallon, I 
expect I shall find some remedy for this complaint. If we can reach 
Panama, where our house is situated, then Mother Gabriella's 
anxiety will cease, for she is quite upset about it, as she does not 
know what to do for me. 

Yesterday, at three p.m., we passed by the Iwan Island, which 
means the Isle of Big Wings, and some call it a big bird. It belongs 
to the United States, and is inhabited by fifty men, who spend the 
greater part of the year fishing. Last night we passed near some 
very dangerous shoals. The steamer seemed as if it would capsize. 
The night was very dark, and fear made it appear darker. With all 
this, we remained very quiet in our cabins, resting as best we could, 
for the vessel rocked very much. We had no reason to fear, for the 
Captain had informed us of all that was likely to happen, for he 
had to stop the steamer to measure the depth of the sea, so as to 
be sure where he was sailing. Moreover, he told us he was staying 
up all night, and that the crew would be up and about also. We 

Nczv Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 


could afford to remain quiet, for the Captain is a very trustworthy 
man. He is a Swede, his name Welin, and he is a capable and 
respectable man. He has travelled right around the world, and 
almost always in the capacity of Captain of a steamer. The crew 
is mostly Swedish also, and I regret Tm unable to speak to them of 
religion, because they have no one to remind them, when we part, 
to attend to their religious duties. I gave them a small medal 
which they received with great devotion and regard as a great 
treasure, even those who are Protestants. I told them the medals 
were blessed by the Holy Father, which pleased them more, and 
they put them away very carefully so as to find them during 
storms. The Swedes have many good qualities. They are sober, 
simple, courteous, intelligent, and have great respect and venera¬ 
tion for us Religious, and when at eventide they hear us sing the 
Veni Creator for the Novena of the Holy Ghost, the Ave Maris 
Stella and other hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary, they become 
reverently attentive, and there seems to be a ray of Heaven falling 
on their souls. Poor men! What a pity we cannot instruct them. 

This morning, at nine a.m., we passed by the Cape of ‘‘Deo 
Gratias,’* almost touching it, where the coast of Mosquitia begins, 
and a little later we seemed to enter a new sea of bright green 
colours. It was the current of Rio Grande, a current that plunges 
with such force into the sea that for several miles it seems to 
struggle in its efforts to mix with the salty water. At present 
we are coasting, and will presently pass by Bluefields, then to¬ 
morrow by S. Juan del Norte, and at eleven a.m., please God, 
we shall arrive at Port Limon. I never thought I should have 
made such a journey, being under the impression that this steamer 
travelled a direct route, but the Captain told me at lunch time 
that a direct line was impossible as he had to encounter many 
coral banks which are very dangerous. I am pleased we are 
coasting, and I should have wished to remain a few days at 
each of these ports, for I like these Indians, having visited 
them three years ago on my return from Nicaragua. Then I 
was making a much more uncomfortable voyage than this, for 
while passing S. Juan del Norte, before entering the sea, I had 
to change steamers nine times in twelve days, while at night we 
never travelled for fear of running aground. In Rio it once 
happened that owing to the vessel not being able to advance, we 

88 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

had to travel by canoes (poor barques), and to make things worse, 
it was all under a downpour of rain from which we could find no 
shelter, as there was none to be had. In other small vessels in 
Rio San Juan there were nests of mice and other vermin, most 
amusing to watch, but as I could not make friends with such 
adventurers, I was obliged for several nights to stand and lean 
against a sofa, the only form of rest I could trust myself to take 
in such company. In the meantime. Sister Mercedes Cepeda and 
I were quite happy and making the best of these experiences.. We 
were well repaid, however, for when we arrived at Bluefields we 
had to wait several hours for a steamer of the Morgan Line which 
was to take us to the United States. There is no church here, 
no priest to invite a few times a year to visit these Indians of the 
Riviera Mosquitia, who are considered little better than beasts by 
the Government, and whom the Church as yet has not been able 
to reach. Taking advantage of this stop, we went around to the 
Indians, and spoke a few kind words to these poor people, who 
overcoming their shyness and yielding to their respect for the 
‘‘Black Robes,'' as they call the Sisters and Priests, they begged 
us to send them also Sisters and Priests to instruct them and 
save them. The poor things! How I felt for them! I would 
have opened a House at once had I the means to do so. Oh, if 
I could but open the purses of many of the rich to whom the good 
God has given so liberally of this earth's treasures! If I could 
only make them understand what a reward theirs would be, if, 
prompted by their own good heart, they would come to our aid 
in succouring these poor creatures who still live in darkness. By 
so doing they would be placing their generous offerings in the 
Bank of Heaven, where they would fructify a hundredfold, if not 
in this world, certainly in the next, and their generosity would 
make them happy with an eternal felicity in Heaven, where God 
has prepared a profusion of immense treasures for the merciful. 

Yesterday, between one interval and another, we saw another 
part of the coast which kept us in admiration of its beauty until 
evening. Meanwhile, I have stopped the description which I began 
with such eagerness. Have patience, if I am obliged to cut my 
narrative short, for the port is within sight, and it seems to move 
to meet us. There lies in front of it an island called Paseo. This 
island is so called because it is a pleasure resort where the people 


New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 

of Port Limon spend their holidays. A lighthouse stands in the 
centre. From afar it appears like a gigantic statue, with a large 
chest, red vest, a black head and a white hat. Here and there 
we notice some nice houses, well built with verandahs, after 
the Chinese style. These, in the midst of the variegated green of 
the country around, create a pretty sight, together with a delight¬ 
ful promenade and a rest resort. 

Here we are at last in port. Two tenders approach, one with 
the Doctor and an uncle of the President of Costa Rica, the other 
with the representative of the Government and other gentlemen. 
The first ones to examine everyone and everything, the others 
to satisfy their curiosity. 

The Doctor looked me up and down from head to foot. As I 
had not shut myself up in my cabin, but remained in the fresh air 
on deck, my leprous appearance has disappeared, and my skin 
has been completely renewed, just as fine and as soft as silk, 
giving me a complexion which I never had before. This caused 
the Doctor to say, ‘‘All right,^* “tutto bene.’’ When the visit was 
over, the Captain and other persons came to offer us their services 
whilst we waited for the steamer which was to convey us to Colon 
for Panama. An uncle of the President, Dr. De Castro, suggested 
that whilst we waited for the steamer we might as well go to 
San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, for three reasons—namely, 
because Limon was unhealthy, secondly because he had a Sister, 
very pious and good, who would be very happy to see us, and 
lastly because we should thus be spared hotel expenses. It was 
impossible to refuse such kindness, and so I promised to go after 
a day’s rest. The Captain offered us the hospitality of his vessel, 
but a large quantity of bananas destined for New Orleans compelled 
him to leave Limon the next day. The English representative here 
having had a letter from Mr. Fallon, recommending us to his care 
obtained for us one of the best places in the hotel, and then went 
to get a free passage for us to S. Jose. This was a very agreeable 
favour, as otherwise it would have cost us eight pesos each, which 
according to the exchange would be eighty lire. Mr. De Castro 
had already given us a letter of recommendation to his sister; 
and we had already asked the owner of the hotel, who was an 
excellent Italian, to take care of our luggage and to wake us at 
four-thirty a.m., as the train would leave at six a.m., when 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

suddenly a representative of the Governor appeared and told us 
he had received orders from the Government to prevent our 
entering the interior of the country, the Government having passed 
a bill which forbade the entrance of Jesuits, and Sisters bearing 
the title of the Sacred Heart. I laughed heartily at the idea. I 
asked to see the Governor, whose residence is quite near the hotel. 
We went, and he received us with the greatest kindness, telling 
us how to get the order withdrawn. I told him I would make 
no effort whatsoever, as I had no need of visiting the country, 
but that I was very sorry, or, rather, regretted that a country 
that boasted of so much progress had such retrograde laws, which 
were contrary to the liberty about which they spoke so much, 
and inhuman, forcing me to remain in an unhealthy place which 
might prove detrimental to the health of my companion who for 
the first time was visiting the tropical regions. The Governor 
was greatly impressed, and that evening, when the leaders of 
the place came together, they all spoke and discussed the affair 
whilst we remained quiet and contented, looking forward to 
receive Holy Communion the following morning, which was Friday 
and the last day of the month of Mary. Who had caused all this 
commotion ? 

A Freemason, who, as soon as he saw two Sisters on board the 
ship, made enquiries and then telegraphed to the Police to prevent 
our entering the country. To-day everyone is looking down upon 
him for acting so inhumanly towards two ladies. The more 
sensible minds are doing all they can to obtain a permit for us to 
visit any part of the Republic we wish, so as not to let us leave 
the country with such an unfavourable impression. I told them 
it would now be useless, as we were leaving for our destination 

Here, however, we were able to perform our little devotions, 
even closing the month of May in a small country church, which is 
kept very nicely by the parish priest, who is a member of the 
Mission of Saint Vincent de Paul. 

The only church-goers are the converted negroes from Jamaica. 
The natives go to church but very seldom, and some never, it 
being a tradition of the last century that church-going is not good 
for those who claim, as they do, to be '"adelantandose cada dia,’' 
i.e., making daily progress. What a pity! What a misfortune 

New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 


that they should have departed from the good spirit, the charac¬ 
teristic spirit of the Spanish race! And all this has been brought 
about by the terrible Masonic influence which moves and dominates 
everything and everybody more and more in these countries. 
The devil has placed his throne very comfortably there and 
extends his net in thick darkness, as seen once by Saint Anthony, 
and he really catches a great many fish without much trouble, 
because to these poor things the word ‘‘progress’^ is like a siren, 
which allures them and offers them the hidden poison which leads 
them backwards instead of forwards. 

The closing of the month of May was lovely. In the morning, 
when High Mass was over, a procession took place during which 
was sung the Litany, and at three p.m., after some hymns, the 
parish priest delivered a touching sermon full of devotion and 
piety. Our Lady was crowned by a child dressed in white and 
wearing a wreath of flowers, after which the mothers brought 
their children to the altar to have them blessed by the priest, 
and then every child presented a flower to Our Lady. It is lovely 
to see these women in their best dresses of gorgeous colours, with 
very short waists, and skirts so long that the train measures a yard 
and a half. Their turbans are of such contrasting colours and 
their faces resembled ebony. Some were tattoed. 

The children were dressed either in variegated colours or in 
white, which clashed with their black faces and black hands, but 
their souls were truly white for their innocence and simplicity. 
Mary seemed to rejoice and extend Her Heavenly Mantle over 
these people. 

But I forgot to tell you about our lodgings. Well, we have a 
room which has a balcony looking west and another looking east, 
and both are so well placed as to afford us opportunities for 
precious contemplation, just as we had on the ocean. On one 
side we have the immense gulf, with beautiful and green gondolas, 
not for fishermen, as these people care little for fishing, but for 
carrying passengers backwards and forwards to the land. Some 
shoals right in front of the balcony cause the water to break into 
foaming waves which roar like the Falls of Niagara. On the other 
side stands the park, with groves and fountains, worthy certainly 
of a greater city, and hardly to be expected in a small country as 
this; but, as they say, ''se adelantan cada dia,’' so, to show their 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

progress, it is necessary to have parks and fountains that foreigners 
may admire. Meanwhile we enjoy a pure and refreshing breeze. 
You may imagine what I mean when I say the thermometer at 
New Orleans is at 28 degrees, here it marks 25 degrees, but, when 
the doors and windows are closed, it exceeds 30 degrees (centi¬ 

It is said that this is a country of fever, but we have been 
assured by the doctors, who have become our friends these days, 
that it is a very healthy country, where people suffering from 
lung complaints come to be cured. We keep really well, but we 
regret to be here doing nothing, seeing that we are only a sixteen 
hours’ journey from our Sisters in Panama, where we would love 
to fly. I hope to be with them soon, and to receive through them 
and their merits an abundance of the gifts and fruits of the Holy 
Ghost, for which I hunger and of which I feel in great need; but 
we must resign ourselves to remain here at Port Limon and to 
receive the Holy Ghost here. Blessed Will of God, how dear and 
amiable Thou art when Thou revealest Thyself with so much 
clearness! When we take a little walk to speak to the negroes, 
who listen to us with so much pleasure, we always go down to 
the dock and almost beg the boats to sail off at once to Panama. 
But none of them take heed, and, leaving one after another for 
other directions, seem to say, ‘‘Have patience I Clip the wings of 
your ardent desires.” In the meantime, the vessel, which is destined 
to convey us to Panama and which is in port, the Royal Mail can¬ 
not approach land owing to its vast size and the shallowness of the 

June To-day, to the spiritual view of the soul a most 
beautiful and sublime subject commends itself . . . The dear 
month of June is at hand, in which we all united, both far and wide, 
and animated by the same faith, will honour the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus, in order to make reparation for so much ingratitude, about 
which He complained to His beloved Margaret. This is the 
month of love, and love ought to transform us all. But what are 
the necessary means for obtaining this transformation? The first 
is to approach the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a spirit of humility 
and confidence; the second is to let grace work in us, following 
its impulses with fidelity and constancy. The good Jesus, through 

Neiv Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 


the goodness of His Divine Heart, makes known to us our ugliness 
and our misery; but we should not fly away frightened by the 
knowledge we receive of ourselves, we should rather humble our¬ 
selves and beg God to free us from our misery. Be not discouraged 
at seeing yourselves so far from the perfection of Holy Love, 
because Jesus desires to grant it to you, to help you in your own 
efYorts. It suffices if we have recourse to Him with a sincere desire 
to correspond with His graces and to trust entirely to His Love. 
Let us throw ourselves into the blessed flames of the most Sacred 
Heart of Jesus, and let that holy fire burn into our spirit, so that 
it may destroy, purify, renew and sanctify all our thoughts, affec¬ 
tions, sentiments, intentions and desires. What have we to fear if 
the most Sacred Heart protects us? And what may we not hope 
for, if we confide in the Heart of such a compassionate and power¬ 
ful Father? Let us fix our gaze on the Wound of the Sacred Heart 
of Jesus. We shall read in characters of blood the height and depth 
of the love that He bears us, and we shall always feel, wherever we 
are, comforted in hoping for everything from His infinite goodness. 
Very often our prayers are imperfect and deserve to be rejected 
by God; but the loving Heart of Jesus sanctifies them. He Himself 
asks for us that which He sees will be for our greater good, and 
compassionately covers our unworthiness with His merits. 

In the secrecy of the Holy Tabernacle the loving Heart of Jesus 
takes note of our needs in order to help us, and waits for nothing 
more than to see us at His feet, full of confidence, uniting our 
prayers with His. Recall often what Jesus said to Saint Gertrude, 
His Beloved, “Here is My Heart, avail yourself of It to make 
good what is deficient in your prayers.’’ Another time. Saint 
Gertrude, full of love, made a fervent prayer (and this is especially 
good for the Missionary) in which she declared that if it were 
necessary to travel the whole world barefooted till the Day of 
Judgment, in order to lead all men to the Heart of Jesus, she would 
have done so with her whole heart, and would have carried every 
one of them in her arms so as to satisfy, at least in part, the 
infinite desires of His sweet Divine Love. Even more, if it were 
possible, she would divide her heart into as many parts as were 
necessary to give a portion to all men on earth, and thus infuse 
into them the good desire to serve God, and thus give perfect joy 
to Flis Divine Heart. Then Jesus appeared to her showing her 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

the gift He was about to give her, in the form of a very rich 
treasure sent by the Holy Trinity, and whilst this gift appeared 
to rise in the heavens, the Angels seemed to prostrate themselves 
before Him. 

She knew, then, that when prayers and holy desires are offered 
to God, the whole celestial court receives and raises them to His 
throne, as gifts most pleasing to God, and that when to one’s 
merits the merits of Jesus Christ are joined, the very Saints them¬ 
selves respect them. Let us fly, fly, dear children, often to the 
Tabernacle—as the hart panteth after the fountains of clear water. 
As long as we live in this exile, far from the heavenly country, let 
us not rest, but labour until we repose in the Heart of Him Whom 
we love so ardently, as true Spouses and Missionaries of the Sacred 
Heart. Let us always go to His Divine Heart, think of Him, fly 
to Him, sigh for Him alone and always, because the vehemence 
of His love for us, is truly wonderful. 

By the words of consecration said by the priest in the name of 
Jesus, the bread is changed or transubstantiated into the body of 
Jesus, and so the body and blood are present under the appearances 
of bread and of wine by a miracle of the Omnipotent. After the 
Consecration, the substance of the bread and wine disappear, the 
appearances only remaining, like so many veils of love and wisdom 
to hide from our material eyes our glorious Lord’s presence, as 
also to supply motives for faith, confidence and courage in receiving 
our Divine Lord into our hearts. As long as the species remains, 
so long does the Sacramental Presence last; as soon as the species 
is consumed, the most Sacred Body retires and vanishes. Nothing 
but wonders are worked on the Altar. The priests, who, during 
the twenty-four hours, offer the Divine Sacrifice in so many coun¬ 
tries, towns and villages all the world over, are innumerable, and 
thus in a hundred thousand places Jesus is present in the Sacrament 
of His Love. Could there be an invention more beautiful and more 
holy than the Institution of this Most Divine Sacrament? Could 
the Loving Jesus show us a greater tenderness of love? But 
remember, daughters, that this most Holy Sacrament is like the 
column of fire that lighted and guided the Israelites to the Promised 
Land, yet proved dark for the Egyptians. This mystery of the 
Holy Eucharist is like that of the Cross, a scandal to the impious 

New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 95 

and the wise of this world, but to humble believers a source of 
virtue and of the wisdom of God. 

Only to the humble and docile of mind and heart are revealed, 
by the Celestial Father, these ineffable and incomprehensible truths 
of the Most Holy Sacrament. Such only shall receive these truths 
into their hearts, because they have received them humbly into 
their minds first. Such alone, therefore, enjoy the sweetness and 
richness of this august Mystery of Wisdom and Love. 

These precious pearls are hidden from the wise and prudent of 
the world. Unfortunate creatures! These pearls have been 
spread under their eyes, but they do not perceive them; they hear 
them spoken of, but they do not understand; the reason is that 
they lack the sense of humble faith and dutiful love, hence their 
ears are deaf. Oh, if everyone understood what a treasure we 
have in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, what greatness, 
richness, sweetness and joy they would possess! But to draw 
down the mercy of God on the earth, so that all may join the 
Holy Catholic Church, the Tree of Life, and be saved, what can 
we do, we Missionaries? We are so poor, capable of nothing, 
and move in a circle too restricted to permit of being able to 
help such a large number of souls. We can, however, make 
frequent and fervent Communions, and by this means we shall 
obtain everything for these poor sinners, our brethren. We 
are unworthy, but approaching our dear Jesus and receiving Him, 
He will give us the kiss of peace, and whilst we give Him our 
filial affection. He will warm us with His love, purify us with His 
blood, vivify us with His breath and decorate and enrich us 
with His graces. ^Tn me manet et ego in eo.*' 

Our Thanksgiving for Holy Communion, dear daughters, should 
be long, very long; indeed, it should never finish, because it is 
the continuation of daily Communion. Entertaining myself with 
God sacramentally, the more I know Him the more clearly I per¬ 
ceive His greatness and perfections. Having this Blessed Presence 
in myself, it stands to reason that I shall frequently receive the 
Holy Sacrament. Knowing God, I love Him, and in thanks¬ 
giving the spirit of God raises me above the things of this earth ; 
it introduces me into the Blessed Oasis of growing grace and of 
the Beatitudes. He opens His breast and shows me His Beautiful 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Heart burning with charity, and He says, “See how I burn with 
love for Thee! How much I love thee”! 

3rd Day, Yesterday we had a visit from the most loyal and 
dearest friend, the Holy Ghost. He loves us tenderly, immensely 
and continually. We, the portion and inheritance of Jesus Christ, 
washed and purified in His Blood, have become the living temples 
of the Holy Ghost; that is, living members and the abode of the 
Divine Paraclete. 

The Holy Ghost, who descended for the first time on the 
Apostles, always descends upon the Church and upon our souls, 
because it is our good and most beloved Jesus Who has merited 
for us the precious gift of the Holy Ghost, by Whom we become 
rich in grace and in every celestial virtue. 

How pleasing it is to the Holy Ghost to see zealous souls that 
seek to spread the Kingdom of Jesus Christ! We give Divine 
homage when we convert a sinner, or make known more clearly 
and more distinctly the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Work, work 
indefatigably, without tiring, for the salvation of souls. May the 
Holy Spirit work in you, pray with you and communicate to you 
His lights, graces and treasures. If you are zealous. He will 
really enlighten you with His Divine Light. He will assist you 
in your works and trials. He will support you in danger, defend 
you from internal and external enemies, and strengthen you by 
His virtue. Have faith, great faith; faith and confidence, and 
pray constantly. The Holy Spirit, with His immense Charity, 
will then diffuse Himself into your hearts and in your souls in 
order to make them stronger with His own fortitude. “Ignem veni 
mittere in terram, et quid volo nisi ut accendatur?” 

Yesterday the Holy Spirit wanted to console us even materially, 
for we received many visits from people whom came to sympathise 
with us on account of the insult, as they regarded it, which we 
received on our first visit to this port. They did their utmost to 
make us forget it, fearing that we might publish it in the papers. 

Two representatives of the President called upon us to apologise, 
saying it was all a misunderstanding, and that we could go to the 
capital and everywhere, and that we would be very welcome. 
They begged us to prolong our stay, and by way of inducement 
offered us a ticket, good for twelve days, so that we might travel 


New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 

at our own leisure. But we were too anxious to leave for Panama 
at once, and so, after thanking them most courteously for the 
great favour offered us, we took the steamer for Panama on the 
4th. The ticket was made out in my name, and I am keeping it 
to show you, on my return, the exquisite kindness of the people 
of Costa Rica. 

But here favours still continue. Seeing everyone so very 
kind, I was able to obtain a free passage, or at least at a very 
reduced rate, from Port Limon to Colon. I spoke to several, and 
finally to the Captain of the steamer. The City of Para, especially 
mentioning to him how kind Mr. Fallon had been to give me a 
free passage from New Orleans to Port Limon. He listened to 
me attentively, and after some time returned, saying he could 
not obtain the favour, but that I could take the cheapest ticket 
and that he would see that I was treated as a 1st class passenger. 
I did this, and one could see the joy in his face at being able to 
confer a favour on Religious. He was not content until he sent 
his own tender to conduct us and our luggage on board. May 
the Sacred Heart of Jesus bless this good English Captain and 
his family with graces, spiritual and temporal, for his generosity 
towards us. 

4th Day, Here we are on board the Royal Mail steamer. City 
of Para. She is turning round on the way to Colon. What a 
pleasant sight of the Cordigliera with its high mountains, and the 
wonderful declivities and points, its aged plants and its carpet of 
variegated green. We cannot enjoy very much this scenery as the 
sun is setting, and night falls at once to the almost complete 
absence of twilight in these regions. 

As is customary with all steamers as they steer out of port, the 
dinner bell rings, and so we must leave this delightful scenery to 
answer the call. This time we have a most exquisite dinner, as 
it is done d la mode Italienne. But how does this come about, 
seeing we are traveling in an English steamer? There are four 
Italian cooks, Milanese and Piedmontese. Having seen we are 
Italians, and perceiving the favour which the Captain shows us, 
they also desire to favour us, and in doing so everybody on board 
benefits, for the Italian cooking is very much appreciated. If 
the Italians would make themselves respected in matters of religion 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

and morals, as they really could do if they wished, how much 
better off they would be; Italy would become the great nation it 
merits to be, instead of being despised as it is now by everyone. 

To-day, amongst other favours, we received a visit from His 
Lordship, the Bishop of Costa Rica, the great champion of the 
Church, Monsignor Thihel, whom I had the pleasure of meeting 
four years ago when passing on to Nicaragua with the Sisters, 
through the port of Punta Arenas. He came then to see us and 
to bless us. Now he came as a friend, having formed a closer 
relationship with our Institute, consequent upon his several visits 
to Rome. He came to ask us to open a House in his diocese. 
He wanted the Sisters who had been exiled from Nicaragua, but 
it is too late, for, passing through Panama, they were detained, 
and, with the approbation of the Mother House, they opened a 
new school there under the highest auspices. I was very pleased 
with the holy Prelate’s visit, and only regretted I had not been 
able to prevent it, as of course I ought to have visited him first. 
If I had not been prohibited from entering the capital, San Jose, 
I should of course have called on His Lordship. 

But now, I hear someone asking what was the reason for which 
our Sisters were exiled from Nicaragua. Do not wonder, for as 
yet these countries are but little advanced in civilization, and full 
of disturbances and revolutions. There are some who have studied 
a little in Paris, London, Germany and the United States, and 
each one thinks he knows better than the other. They hold 
themselves in high repute, not wishing to see at the head of the 
Government one whom they think inferior to themselves. Then, 
they seek to make friends and induce them to follow the same 
ideas. Thus they work on collectively until they succeed in 
removing the ruling President and placing in the Presidential Chair 
one of their own followers. Very often, one of these satellites, 
well grounded in these ideas by the first proud usurper, takes the 
opportunity of overthrowing the one he had previously helped to 
establish in the Presidency; in the same manner does a third one 
l)ehave, and so they carry on in this way. Sometimes one of 
them, still more ignorant, and not possessing the necessary knowl¬ 
edge, wishes to accomplish . something even more brilliant, and 
endeavours to become famous by persecuting religious men and 
women. This is what ultimately happened to our Sisters. It 

New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 


appears the School was progressing nicely, being filled with 
children of the best families. Indeed, I was feeling quite happy 
over the foundation, because, having survived three revolutions, 
the Sisters there felt encouraged to believe that their position was 
more secure. Generally speaking, very serious diseases and 
epidemics break out after revolutions and wars, owing to the 
unburied bodies of the victims. Fortunately, all our Sisters re¬ 
mained free from infection, and not one of the pupils contracted 
any illness. It was at this moment of apparent success that 
they heard that there appeared immediate danger, owing to a 
new dispute in the Government, which arose through the entrance 
of some foreigners, who excited the Liberals of Nicaragua, always 
easily led to rebellion. 

It just happened, too, that about this time a young lady, a great 
votary of the world and its pleasures, touched by the grace of 
God, was converted, and sought immediate entrance into our 
Convent. She was not received, however, as the local Superior 
had first to obtain permission from the Superior General before 
receiving anyone into the Convent. The young lady had recourse 
to Dona Elena Arellano, a lady of high repute in Nicaragua, and 
this lady, owing to the esteem and influence she enjoyed in the 
country, kept the would-be Nun with her in her house. In the 
meantime, those who had lost their prey in the person of the 
young lady, attributed the workings of grace to our having induced 
the girl to leave the world, and shortly afterwards we heard we 
were to be expelled. To ascertain the truth of this rumour, the 
Reverend Mother called personally on the President. He received 
her and her companion with every mark of esteem. He was 
loud in his praise of our work, and even promised his fatherly 
protection, which, of course, left them with a sense of assurance 
of his goodwill. Moreover, the following week he sent a case of 
prize books for the pupils, which were accompanied by a letter 
in his own handwriting promising our Sisters every protection. 

A month after the President had promised to protect the Sisters, 
whilst they were quietly attending their classes and finishing off 
some new uniforms, the new Prefect of the city, Mr. Pedro Pablo 
Bodan, and the Governor, Mr. Rivos, asked to see the Reverend 
Mother. On presenting herself, they gave her orders to leave the 
country at once, and told her that the steamer was lying in port 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cahrini 

awaiting them. The Superior pleaded that two Sisters were very 
ill in bed, but they would not revoke the order, and surrounding 
the house with Military Guards so that outsiders could have no 
access, and that the Sisters should not have the chance of appealing 
to the President, they intimated that no outsiders who were within 
the walls of the Convent would be allowed to leave the house until 
the Sisters had first left. As soon as the pupils heard of it, they 
arose in a body against these men, crying and shouting piteously. 
As soon as the parents of the pupils heard of the matter, they went 
to the Convent to try and prevent the expulsion, but all was in 
vain, as the soldiers had received orders to fire on all who resisted. 
The screams and shouts filled the air. It was a scene of real 
desolation. The Prefect alone remained unmoved. In the midst of 
all this disorder, it was lovely to see how calm and serene the 
Sisters remained whilst they prepared the few articles of clothing 
they needed for the voyage, trying in the meantime to quiet the 
children and their parents, and showing how to accept this trial 
from the hands of God, Who knows how to draw good from evil, 
and promising to return some day. Two hours later the Prefect 
called forward the carriages which were to convey the Sisters to 
the steamer. The Sisters were surrounded by soldiers who accom¬ 
panied them to the port. 

It was just like a funeral cortege, for, the news having spread, 
a great crowd followed the Sisters, crying and begging them to 
stay, as their leaving the country was the sign of God’s wrath, 
towards them. They pleaded mercy for their sins. On arrival 
at the port, the soldiers formed a cordon around the Sisters to 
prevent the crowd following. The Sisters passed one by one, as 
they had to be counted before embarking. 

A few minutes later two priests arrived on board. They were 
the Parish Priest and the Chaplain. They, too, were banished, 
whilst the day before six other priests were exiled to the port of 
Corinto on the Pacific. 

Lady Elena Arellano, who had spent so much money on this 
foundation, and who loved the Sisters so much, felt she could not 
let them go without accompanying them, but as this was forbidden 
under pain of exile, she decided to accept the penalty, and remained 
with them all the time they stayed at San Juan del Nor^'', and 

New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 


until they had received orders from the Mother General to found 
another Mission. 

Every vessel that left Granada brought some resident of Nicar¬ 
agua, who came to console the Sisters whom they loved and 
venerated, and to whom they brought some help. Even the 
very Indians of Rama, through the distinguished Don Felice 
Alfaro, gave the Sisters a substantial sum of money to help them 
in their distress. 

At Granada, Don Constantino Motonco, who had his children 
at the School, obtained from the parents what was still due to 
the Sisters, and sent the money on to them, which could not have 
been much, as this was generally paid in advance. However, it 
shows how the Sisters had to struggle for their maintenance, 
especially having several sick Nuns. 

And so the good God does not abandon His Beloved servants 
when in need, tribulations and illness. He knows how to soothe 
our wounds, and from news which I have recently received, I have 
reason to praise the Most Sacred Heart, Who so honours our Insti¬ 
tute with banishment, though it is so young, poor and the least in 
our Holy Church. 

The expulsion of our Sisters was a celestial dew which fell upon 
many souls, and changed that delirium of fury and impiety into a 
solemn act of homage to our most holy Religion. It was a Divine 
Light dispelling the dense darkness. Let us thank God for having 
so favoured us and made us worthy of suffering for His cause! 
But you are in great suspense and anxious to know what happened 
in consequence, and I will satisfy your wishes. The expulsion of 
the Sisters from Nicaragua not only made an impression on the 
good, who could not console themselves on account of their loss, 
but also on the bad. There was one member of the Masonic 
group, who, touched by Divine Grace at the sight of such cruelty, 
became sincerely converted. He had been one of the worst 
enemies of the Church, attacking Her even by his writings and his 
speeches. Now he became one of Her greatest defenders, after 
having witnessed our expulsion, and went so far as to refuse a 
public office which was offered to him, rather than sacrifice his 
intelligence and good convictions. His answer was, that a true 
Catholic could have nothing to do with a Government so brutal, 
impious and cowardly, whose heroism consisted in oppressing 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

the weak, stamping on religion, and outraging Sisters, whose 
sole crime was to instruct innocent youth by means of self-sacrifice. 

This refusal gave room to much criticism and mockery, and 
made him many enemies, but nothing could make him turn 
back. He knew well what he would have to put up with, but 
he said the example of the Sisters helped him. They, being 
innocent, had suffered so heroically, hence why should he not 
suffer, who merited so much punishment for his past misdeeds 
against the Truth? He would rather die than withdraw from 
the obligations of the true followers of Christ! 

He gave up all his Masonic decorations and his whole library, 
which was very large, he handed to the Bishop. In thanksgiving 
for so great a grace, which he appreciated according to its worth, 
he had a solemn High Mass celebrated, inviting all his relations 
and Catholic friends to assist at it, and receiving Holy Communion 
with his whole family. He still remains very good, rising at four 
a.m., to pray, while at six he goes to High Mass, and receives 
Holy Communion weekly. He has renewed his library, filling it 
with books of sound doctrine and Christian piety, amongst which 
are the Imitation of Christ, The Christian Year, and the Martyr- 
ology and the like, and intimates that his family should read these 
at certain hours of the day. 

Therefore the expulsion has had one great good result for the 
inhabitants of Nicaragua, a result which is most consoling. Let 
us supplicate the Sacred Heart that such may always be the effect 
of the sufferings of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, for then 
we do not really leave the Mission but, rather, change it into a 
better one. It is now eight months since the Sisters left, but 
they continually receive letters from one family and another, and 
some even bearing the name of the President of the Republic. 
Please God we shall return some day, but not at present, as the 
actual government cannot guarantee the privileges and liberty 
which we require for the success of our work. 

Yesterday, at four a.m., we perceived the lighthouse of Colon, 
and a little later the monument of Christopher Columbus. At 
seven-thirty the English steamer was already in the hands of the 
Custom House officers. Friends and relations had come to meet 
their expected friends, and I strained my eyes to see if there were 
any Sisters to meet us and to convey us to Panama, but there was 

Neiv Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 


no one about, as the Sisters had been told that the steamer would 
not arrive before mid-day. They had, therefore, only left by the 
eleven a.m. train. We knew nothing of this, and as I had deter¬ 
mined not to sleep outside the Convent that night, whatever 
happened, I made my own arrangements. For a moment or so 
the whole place appeared to me like a desert, seeing that no one 
had come to meet us, especially as I had sent several letters and, 
recently, even telegrams announcing our arrival. However, I 
made up my mind to act, and approaching the Captain, I begged 
him to allow me to remain on board until the arrival of the train. 
Then taking a cab, I went to the Prefect to ask him to give us a 
free passage to Panama. He not only favoured me in this in¬ 
stance, but said he would do anything for our School in Panama. 
When everything had been arranged, we returned on board for 
dinner, where there were two Sisters awaiting us with tickets for 
all four. The Captain very kindly allowed the new arrivals to 
dine with us, and at two p.m. we were on our way to Panama. 
After three hours and a half amidst the beautiful mountainous 
scenery of the Isthmus, we arrived at Panama, where at the station 
we met our Sisters, and within a quarter of an hour we were 
within the Convent, blessing the Sacred Heart for having given 
me back those Sisters whom for four years I had not seen. After 
a short rest, I was anxious to look over the house which a number 
of distinguished persons obtained from the Government for our 
School, and which already shelters the children of the highest 
families of Panama. 

The house is lovely. One could imagine easily to be on board 
a steamer, because on the south and south-west it is surrounded 
by the sea, whose proud waves beat against the walls of our 
garden, throwing a spray of water, whiter than milk, with small 
pebbles which the children take for sweets. The room which the 
Sisters have prepared for me is surrounded on two sides by large 
orange trees, the fruit of which touches my window sill. One 
window looks out on a path which leads to the sea and the lovely 
isles in it, which seem to be playing in the bay. These isles really 
serve as a defence or a sort of port for all vessels that come from 
California, from all the Southern ports, and from Europe through 
the Straits of Magellan. Such a long voyage, however, is only 
made by ships and very seldom by the Transatlantic steamers. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

In our garden we have six kinds of palms, bananas and coffee trees 
and various kinds of fruit, the names of which I do not know. 

To-day I wanted to visit His Lordship, the Bishop of this city, 
but the person who was to obtain the audience for us said 
the Bishop would send word himself. This message was hardly 
delivered, when His Lordship arrived so as to greet me first. He 
is a very distinguished person, and inspires great confidence in 
one. This is a very favourable augury for our new foundation, 
which seems to have gained already such a good footing. A 
great number of persons called on me, saying how happy they 
were that we had come to stay, a favour that they had long desired 
but which for many reasons they had failed to obtain, especially 
owing to the expulsion. 

Yellow fever is prevalent here, but, as far as we are concerned, 
I can attest to the contrary, as the Sisters have had no fever 
whatever during the nine months; in fact, they are in better 
health. The heat here is no worse than in Nicaragua. We frequently 
have very refreshing breezes which strengthen and invigorate us. 

Before closing this, I want to give you some news of the work 
that is done by our Sisters in New York, and how the Sacred Heart 
blesses our Mission there. But you know the only free time we 
have is when we are.on the ocean, so I will speak of it another 
time on another voyage, which I may make either on the Atlantic 
or on the Pacific. Here on the Isthmus we are really at the apex 
of the world. The position of the house is such that I imagine 
I can see every part of the earth in that immense space of water 
which is in front of us. It serves us as an object for meditation, 
and this is not disturbed by the desire I have of taking the first 
vessel that sails to the places where the need is the greatest. But 
where shall I go? The calls are many, and if I cannot go to all 
places where we are needed, as commanded by Rome, I will do 
my utmost to comply with obedience as far as it lies in my power. 
Pray, daughters, pray from your heart, so that we may be able 
to do all that the Sacred Heart wants of us. Study to become 
observant, for with perfect observance you will become Saints. 
Seek to increase your number, so that I may increase the number 
of Houses for the good of souls. I can assure you that the people 
are well disposed, though they are uncivilized. They only need 
someone to speak the Word of God and instruct them. 

New Orleans to Panama — May, 1895 


Tell the young ladies who have received so much from God, tell 
them not to bury their talents, but, corresponding with the sublime 
grace of their vocation, to come forward and unite themselves with 
us and become Holy Religious, to work in these endless fields where 
the harvest is rich, but the labourers are few. Tell them to come 
and carry the sheaves into the granary of our holy and august 
Religion. Tell our friends not to cease helping us with their 
offerings, as the work extends in proportion to the means at hand. 
And blessed are those who have placed their charitable offerings 
in this treasury, because they will be rewarded a hundredfold, 
and will receive blessings in this world on themselves, their 
families and undertakings, while heavenly blessings, to their 
consolation, will follow them at the last day, when they will depend 
totally on their good works and generosity. I send, then, from 
my heart, my best wishes to all, imploring special blessings from 
the Sacred Heart of Jesus on all, assuring them that I shall not 
forget them in my poor prayers, and will have them remembered 
in those of the Community. And you, my dear daughters, I 
leave you in the Heart of Jesus, where we must remain united 
together, though we are four or six thousand miles apart. The 
Missionary knows no distance—the world is so small. Space is 
an imperceptible object to a Missionary, because she is accustomed 
to dwell on eternity, to which she wishes to conduct all the souls 
she can—those souls which have been redeemed by the Most 
Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. Open your hearts, oh. Mission¬ 
aries of the Sacred Heart, open your hearts and souls; do not be 
content with little, but become holy by sanctifying all whom you 
approach under obedience, and console your Mother, who, though 
far away, loves you and delights herself in the beautiful garden 
of your virtues. 

May Jesus bless and enclose you in His Beautiful Heart, where 
I find you every hour and every day. 

Affectionately yours in Corde Jesu, 

Mother Frances Saverio Cabrini. 


f^anama down the f^uci^ic and acrodd 
tlie ^^nded to d^uenod .^ifed 

(ddctoLer, 1895 

12th October, 1895. 

My dear Daughters, 

Peace be to you, and may you repeat often, 
“Omnia possum in Eo qui me confortat!“ 

Della ptaga del costato 
Quanto e larga Vapertura 
Ivi il porto e preparato, 
Lungi, o figlie, ogni paura; 
Sto alia Vergine afferrata. 
Presto al porto sard entrata. 

“What a long voyage, what a hard voyage Mother is undertaking 
at present!“ Such is what I hear you say, whilst I detect the 
sadness and fear depicted on your faces. I believe I am the calm¬ 
est amongst you all, and I am, really so, as far as my voyage 
is concerned. Jesus still lives. Mary, the Mother of Grace, is 
always my most tender Mother, because she is the Mother and 
Foundress of our Institute. It is Jesus and Mary who have 
always seen me through thousands of difficulties, and will they 
abandon me now? No, I shall never do them such an injury as 
to mistrust their power and protection. During all the sixteen 
years the Institute has existed, they have done everything for 
me. They have accomplished everything wonderfully. If, some¬ 
times, things were not so successful, it was because I acted too 
much on my own initiative; when I left the work to them, I had 
nothing to regret. I go forward, then, as tranquil as a child 
reposing in its mother’s arms; in that safe ship of the Sacred 


108 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Heart of Jesus I go to fulfill my mission. Holy obedience and the 
blessing of the Holy Father accompany me and remove all fears. 
I fear nothing, repeating continually my motto, ‘^Omnia possum 
in Eo qui me confortat !’* 

The wind roars, the heavens darken, the treacherous waves 
arise and beat against the steamer, everything turns topsy-turvy. 
We are threatened with a terrible tempest. All this matters 
nothing; I have given my trust, I must keep my word of honour, 
and with faith and confidence. I hope, with God’s grace, to go 
on repeating, ''Omnia possum in Eo qui me confortat!” We 
are Missionaries, oh, daughters, and the Missionary should never 
shrink from difficulties and dangers, but, rather, confiding in 
Jesus and resting on Mary, she will overcome all difficulties and 
escape dangers. 

Difficulties! What are they, daughters? They are the mere 
playthings of children enlarged by our imagination, not yet 
accustomed to focus itself on the Omnipotent. Dangers! What 
are dangers? The spectres that surprise the soul, which having 
given itself to God, or thinking it has done so, still retains the 
spirit of the world, or at least many sparks of it, which fly up from 
the ashes and flare at every gust of contrary wind. 

It is necessary, dear daughters, to invest ourselves with the 
true spirit, to live a life of true faith, lively faith, and not to 
deceive ourselves and the grace that is always in us. 

In Holy Baptism we solemnly renounced the world, the devil 
and the flesh; but we must prove that renunciation by our daily 
actions. When we entered Religion, we said, "I am crucified to 
the world and the world is crucified to me.” But such a promise 
should not be a mere empty saying; in reality we should live as 
if we were people of a Holy Nation that belongs no longer to the 
world. When we took the Crucifix of the Missionary and became 
more generous in the service of God, we said, with the impulse 
of the ardent soul, ''I shall be happy to shed my blood for Jesus 
Christ, and will welcome the blessed day in which it shall be given 
to me to suffer something for the Holy Cause, for the salvation of 
souls and the glory of God.” Sublime words! And who would 
be false to such an oath made by so courageous a soul? O 
daughters! Let us meditate profoundly on the sublimity of the 
state to which God has called us—that of working for the salvation 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


of souls! In the presence of such contemplation, we can never 
shrink from our promises or lose courage, if only because of the 
judgment and reasoning of the world I 

*‘But I am weak!'’ With God's help we can do everything; 
He never fails a humble and faithful soul. ‘'But I am so 
fragile!" If you are humble and constant, God will be your 
strength, and, having been made strong with the strength of 
God, what shall we fear? The devil is terrible, but he is like a 
chained dog—he cannot disturb you or hurt you without God's 
permission. Therefore, a humble and faithful soul need have no 
fear of the devil. ‘T have failed in generosity, I have fallen at 
the first temptation, now I shall not be able to do anything well." 
Have you fallen? Then, humble yourself, and, with a lively act 
of contrition from the depths of your heart, ask pardon with great 
humility and renew your promises to God and those who represent 
Him; then be up and doing with more courage than ever to repair 
your defects. 

October 12th, Yesterday was a red-letter day. 

The thought of leaving, after a stay of four months, our dear 
Sisters, who so edified me and whose virtues made the Convent 
of Panama, a sweet habitation, was painful. 

To leave those young ladies, our pupils, who endeared themselves 
to me by their nobleness of heart and co-operation in the cares 
and sacrifices expended by the Sisters in their regard; who sur¬ 
rounded me daily to hear a few words of advice, which as yet I 
can hardly express in their own language; the efforts they made 
to overcome themselves and to render me happier each day by 
guessing my wishes; all this combined to render my departure 
more painful. The steamer was lying at a distance of three miles 
from the shore, and they all came on board to see me off. The 
noble and generous Signor Don Ernesto Icasa, the father of one 
of our dear pupils, had placed at their disposal his comfortable 
launch. The representatives of the heads of families in Panama 
and the patrons of the new School, also came on board and intro¬ 
duced me to the Captain and the Head Steward. They are very 
distinguished persons, not only on account of their social position, 
but for the virtues and generosity that distinguish them. 

From the very first moment that I arrived in Panama they did 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

all in their power, to further the development of the School and to 
place its preservation and progress on a sound footing. Many 
were the sacrifices and acts of self-denials they made in its regard 
The evening before my departure, the Committee came togethei 
to assure me that during my absence they would do everything 
in their power for the Sisters, and even attested the same in 
writing, adding a letter of commendation for me to present to 
their friends when I reached Ecuador, Peru, Chili and Argentine. 
Many ladies, our good friends, came to the port to see me off. 
Amongst others was the Bishop's Secretary, the Parish Priest of 
the Cathedral, who came with good wishes, which, because they 
are accompanied by God’s blessing, are always valuable. This good 
priest had been invited by our Chaplain, to give us Benediction 
of the Blessed Sacrament, so that my voyage might be blessed. 
So many demonstrations of kindness touched my soul, indeed, 
and rendered more and more deeply painful my leaving Panama, 
a town with so many noble and generous people. 

On board the steamer, Messrs. Icasa, Espinosa, Della-Ossa and 
Lewis introduced me to the Captain with many expressions of 
recommendation. Mr. Icasa gave a finishing touch to the leave- 
taking by paying for the voyage and handing the tickets to the 
Bursar himself, making sure that I should enjoy all the advantages 
procured for me. There was also the comical side which served 
to mitigate the sadness of the last moments, for the Consul, Mr. 
Della-Ossa, took the Captain by the arm, saying, “You know. 
Mother has had no supper yet.” “Of course,” he said, “she 
shall have it presently,” but Mr. Della-Ossa persisted so much, 
that the Captain thought he wanted him to go to the kitchen 
himself for my supper. The Captain was very amused, and called 
the Steward to conduct us to the dining room, but I begged him 
to wait a few moments, as I wished to see the Sisters and children 
return, as the tender was leaving at once, it being six p.m. Night 
comes on with remarkable rapidity in these equatorial regions. The 
waving of the handkerchiefs could not be distinguished after they 
had gone about fifty metres, so we went to our cabins. Mother 
Chiara and I. These were just like a little Convent. The two 
cabins communicated one with the other and opened, out on the 
deck, which is four metres wide and one hundred long, where we 
can walk about freely and enjoy the air. The dining room is 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


very near, and very comfortable; we might have wished for all these 
conveniences, but we could hardly have expected to find them. 
After supper, and after having said some prayers, Mother Chiara 
went to bed, whilst I sat alone facing the lighthouse of Panama. 
Looking to the left of it, I thought I could see the Sisters at 
recreation gazing in the direction of the steamer Mapocho, and 
afterwards absorbed in prayers in the chapel. I also thought I 
could see all the five lamps burning, three before the Blessed 
Sacrament and one each before Our Lady and Saint Joseph, 
which, by raising and lowering their flickering lights, seemed as 
though they wished to unite with the Sisters in praying for a 
good voyage for me. I then united with you in spirit, and prayed 
in return that you might receive the most precious graces which 
you need always in order that you may accomplish your mission, 
i.e., to lead to God all the souls that are brought into contact 
with you. 

Between nine-thirty and ten p.m., and very quietly, the steamer 
began to move, and, having turned round, it passed in front of 
Flamengo hill and made straight for the south. I continued as 
long as I could to look on the left-hand side of the lighthouse, but 
little by little the darkness that surrounded us became so dense that 
everything was rendered imperceptible. Then, having lost all hope 
of again seeing you any longer, and of hearing your voices raised 
in singing the hymn of the Ave Maris Stella as an invocation and 
prayer for me to Our Lady, I also retired to rest. 

On the morning of the 12th, as soon as I arose and had said my 
prayers, I turned towards Panama to see if I could get a glimpse 
if not of the town, at least of the coast, but the water that sur¬ 
rounded me was like a leaden space. The heavens were so 
clouded that I could not distinguish the points of the compass, 
which might have helped me to look in the proper direction. I 
then looked into the Sacred Heart, where I could see you in deep 
contemplation like so many inflamed seraphim in preparation for 
Holy Communion. It was a most consoling vision for me, and 
I hastened to unite myself with you in Spiritual Communion, 
offering it to the Eternal Father in union with your Sacramental 

The atmosphere seems to have changed its nature, for, proceeding 
towards the Equator and even while on the Equatorial line itself. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

instead of feeling the great heat which we were told to expect, 
we felt rather cold, so much so that we were obliged to put on 
heavier clothes. One would think the steamer had mistaken its 
route and had steered towards the North Pole instead of going 
to the Equator. Two blankets were not sufficient, and we had to 
wear shawls when on deck, but despite this I feel the cold to my 
very bones. I should have loved to have used those two cushions 
you had so carefully provided for me, but no matter how much 
I stretched my arms, I could not reach Panama to take them. I 
imagined also how disappointed you were to have forgotten them, 
but there is no need of your being upset, for everyone is so atten¬ 
tive to us on the steamer, that we need nothing. 

Then, while crossing the Equator, it is not becoming to wish for 
too many conveniences, because we are near and in a straight line 
with Quito, where Blessed Marianna lived in such austere penance, 
though this is rather to be admired than imitated. What a pity that 
M. Gabriella is not here, now that we are passing the Equator, 
seeing she wished so much to see the line. It is like a shining dark 
blue band stretched just above a globe, and is really beautiful to 
behold. The sea seems to end there. To one of the lady passengers 
who desired to see the line, the merry company placed a thread 
across a pair of eye-glasses, so that she thought she really saw a 
great beam dividing the two hemispheres. However, notwith¬ 
standing this joke, the combination of sky and water forms such 
a beautiful spectacle, that one would think it was the actual line 
of division where the South begins and where a twofold nature 
appears to exist, for whilst the thermometer registers 27 centi- 
grades, the air is so cold that it caused us to shiver. 

You must not think it is always like this; everyone is surprised 
at this phenomenon. I am not so surprised, accustomed as I am, 
now, to see so many changes from the hand of God, Who, in the 
economy of His Most Holy Providence, always has new wonders 
for those who completely abandon themselves to Him. I, in fact, 
rejoice to be able to give you a new description of these equatorial 
regions, of which I have heard hardly anything except that the 
heat is excessive and unbearable. It might be that the Lily of 
Quito, the Blessed Marianna, from her sepulchre in the Andes, or, 
rather, from Heaven where she sits happily at the side of her 
loving Jesus, sent us this fresh breeze to mitigate the heat of the 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


voyage, which we undertook from Panama in honour of Saint Rose 
of Lima, the Patroness of America. We shall visit her tomb and 
receive Holy Communion at her altar. 

October \6th. Yesterday we arrived at Guayaquil, where we 
intended to go ashore to receive Holy Communion, but two hours 
passed before the custom officers and doctors came on board. 
Then there arrived a Peruvian priest, who during the revolutions, 
had left Ecuador and settled in Peru. He had hardly reached 
Guayaquil, when he was banished anew to Peru, and embarked 
on our steamer. I made up my mind after this information not 
to go ashore and have the police following us, as everybody is 
held in suspicion. Signor Alfaro not having as yet fully settled his 

Guayaquil is a beautiful port. Its entrance resembles that of 
the Mississippi at New Orleans. We have to sail up this river 
for more than six hours before we reach the port. They say the 
vegetation is charming, but I cannot describe it as we arrived at 
night, and after twenty-four hours we again sail at night. 
The town resembles Genoa for its scenery, only it is not so high 
and healthy. 

Seen from the steamer, the city, with its beautiful houses built 
with architectural regularity and well painted and in shape semi¬ 
circular, reflected in the water, is very fine and not inferior to a 
European city. When illuminated at night it is a wonderfully 
pleasant sight, and, judging from the tall steeples towering over the 
houses, the churches should be beautiful. But now these temples 
and houses are deserted and present a desolate spectacle, for the 
first thing the revolutionary Alfaro with his followers did was to 
banish Priests and Sisters. The latter took refuge in Panama and 
then returned to their Mother Houses. Some were not banished, 
but a troop of rough men entered the convents and treated the in¬ 
mates so brutally that the Sisters fled in despair from the country. 
Some of these poor women suffered so much, that they were still 
ill when I called on them . . . But you are not to be fright¬ 
ened. If you are banished from one place, you should, like 
the Apostles, shake the dust from your shoes and enter another 
country. Hunted from the second, you can return again to the 
first, and so you will not abandon a large number of souls who 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

desire to take advantage of the good you can do them. At the 
present moment, having no business in Ecuador, I simply pray the 
Blessed Marianna to look down upon her country and obtain that 
it be again enlightened with the light and faith of former days. 

October I7th. Yesterday we left Ecuador and entered the waters 
of Peru, and at seven a.m. we arrived at the port of Paita. It 
looks like a city of desolation, and at first sight it saddens one's 
heart. No trees, no grass, no fountain are visible. Surrounded by 
low and dry mountains, it is a real desert. Yet it is one of the 
most healthy ports, and large numbers even from Ecuador come 
here to enjoy its curative advantages. In fact, the air one breathes 
here is pure, light and balsamic, and really restores one. The sea 
is tranquil, and they tell us it never gets rough at this point. It 
has such a beautiful blue soft colour that one would think it a 
fallen portion of the sky. But to us it appeared even more 
beautiful and singular, for, as we looked around to see if we 
could find a steeple to which we could turn our thoughts to Jesus 
in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, a flock of white birds 
suddenly whirled around us, making a strange noise, at which 
Mother Chiara broke silence, saying, “What can this mean?" 
“Oh," I replied, playfully, “they are inviting us to their country 
as they did three years ago at Panama, and we will go there when 
we can." While we were talking and amusing ourselves with 
these peculiar birds, a priest came on board, and approaching me, 
after a few salutations, asked me what was the object of our 
voyage. Having told him, he said we should remain here and open 
a Mission. In the meantime, he said, he would see to our going 
ashore immediately. I had a difficult time in endeavouring to 
persuade him that it was impossible for me to stop here, at which 
he seemed very much disappointed. However, determined not to 
be outdone, he shortly afterwards appeared with the Governor and 
Mayor, who promised me all sorts of things, salary, etc. At first 
I thought that, as there was a great deal of business being carried 
on on board, that these people wanted to trade with us, but I 
soon discovered that their intentions were very good, and that 
they only desired to get a religious education for the youth of 
their country. Of course, I could not gratify their wishes, and 
they finally took my address, and I theirs, with the hope of 

Panama to Bnenos Aires — October^ 1895 


satisfying their wishes at a later date. Meanwhile, two beautiful 
clays have passed away without our being able to receive Our 
Divine Lord or hear Holy Mass: the Feasts of St. Teresa and of 
Blessed Margaret Mary. Had we been without the consolation of 
prayer, this long voyage would have been insupportable. What 
a gift prayer is! It is the real treasure of our soul, our being 
able to give to God the worship of perfect adoration. Prayer is 
the channel through which the most precious waters of grace 
continually and copiously flow from the Heart of God. Precious 
waters, daughters, these are, for while they sanctify us, they 
render happy our Holy Church, of which we should daily try to 
become more worthy. Prayer is always useful, because it can 
penetrate everywhere, and where there is misery and poverty, 
there it enters to enrich, to give life, grace, comfort and salvation; 
its zeal is like that of God’s Angel, its activity is greater than the 
most ardent fire, its velocity is like the thought of the Cherubim. 
Oh, the spirit of prayer knows no obstacles, admits of no delay, 
despises dangers; its end is the glory of God, the prosperity of 
Christ’s interests, the extension of His Kingdom, our own sanctifi¬ 
cation and that of our neighbour I Oh, what happiness, daughters! 
I go accompanied by the powerful and wonderful means of prayer. 
I am, then, most happy in the midst of the foaming waves of 
the sea. And you, dear daughters, pray, pray always, and 
incessantly practise the spirit of prayer, which must form your 

October 20th. On the ISth we had two landings—one at Port 
Eten and the other at Port Pacasmayo—and yesterday morning 
we had another at Port Salaverri, where we still are, though, 
judging from the scenery and commerce, it does not appear to 
be a place of much importance. There is a big trade here in sugar, 
cocoa, rice and cotton, which form the principal riches of these 
countries, apart from the mines of gold and other metals which 
still abound in Peru, though not so much as they did at one time. 
Now it possesses another source of wealth, the natural and rich 
guano composed chiefly of the lime of sea-fowls. From the 
Equator to Chili, all the coast, whether plain or mountainous, is 
but one desert. There is not a blade of grass, not a tree, nothing 
that gives the slightest indication of vegetation. Nothing can be 

116 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

cultivated, for there is no rain except at intervals of five to seven 
years. In the intervening years, millions of birds, destined by 
Providence, deposit in certain places quantities of faecal matter, 
from which is extracted the guano which is so much valued all 
over the world for the cultivation of fields. 

In these parts we have seen many practical innovations. The 
sea is almost always so rough that boats coming to a ship with 
passengers, cannot always get near the ship-ladder, and then what 
is done to put the passengers on board? Well, something very 
curious and very funny takes place. They take a barrel cut open 
on one side and place the person in it. They then attach it to 
the chain which they use for hauling merchandise. The person is 
then pulled up and let down into the ship. The poor creature, 
who is suspended between the sky and the water seems very 
much afraid, and this applies not only to the women but to the 
men also, for even when they reach the deck they appear stupefied 
and as if not quite sure of having escaped some sort of danger. 
Yesterday one of the usual stowaways of these ports, taking advan¬ 
tage of the conveyance of merchandise, managed to get on board, 
but the officers, who are quite practical, as soon as they saw him 
accosted him and told him to leave the steamer at once. It was a 
most difficult task for him to climb up the ship, but it was more 
difficult to descend, so they took him, put him into a sack and then 
attached the sack to the chain and let him down. He must have 
been accustomed to this sort of thing, for he remained indifferent 
and as fresh as a rose. 

We were detained in this port of Salaverri, which is as important 
as it is inconvenient, for two days, owing to the large quantity of 
cargo we had to take on board. Some years ago a large dock was 
built here to facilitate the work of embarkation. It was hardly 
finished, when there arose a tremendous gale which destroyed it 
completely, not leaving a trace of the work, while the expense of 
construction was so great that the promoters did not feel disposed 
to rebuild it. The ocean is very rough here, and the waves break 
so violently that they actually frighten us. The cargoes are 
brought across in large and strongly-built boats, and, notwith¬ 
standing their size, they often seem to be on the point of foundering 
as the great waves sweep over them and hide them from sight, 
while we remain in terrible suspense until we see them rise 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


again above the tremendous waves. Amidst the force of the 
waves, these unfortunate boats roll from one side to another, 
though they are in the hands of ten strong rowers with long broad 
oars. The one at the stern, who acts as steersman, has a bigger 
oar than the others, and works with all his might and main. 
Others come with ‘‘balzas,'' a boat of somewhat primitive con¬ 
struction and formed of planks of long big trees. Called ‘Talzas,’’ 
these planks are as light and spongy as cork, and offer great resist¬ 
ance to the water. By means of these boats they transport bags 
of charcoal which is used in these parts. It is said to be a safer 
form of transport than any other kind of boat. However, I should 
not care to trust myself on one of them except under obedience, 
in which case fear ceases and is replaced by a trust which brings 

Obedience! Oh, dear word. Obedience! The revealed word, 
ray of true light, which descends upon us from the Father of Light, 
as a manifestation of the Divine Will by means of His representa¬ 
tives on earth. He who does the Will of God feels great peace, 
tastes Heaven in advance; and what great joy is purs, oh, 
daughters, who live under obedience, or, rather, in the State of 
Obedience, really, actually and continually doing the Will of God. 
‘‘Ego quae placita sunt ei facio semper.” Those who live under 
obedience are sure of their way, because in the practice of obedience 
there are no errors, no deceits, no illusions, nor darkness. Obedi¬ 
ence! Obedient souls are the delight of the Heart of Jesus, Who 
has said His treasures are always open to His Beloved and Faithful 
Spouses. It is they whom He makes the dispensers of His posses¬ 
sions, on earth and in Heaven. Do you love Jesus, daughters? 
Do you want to be His faithful Spouses? If so, love obedience. 
Obey always, for God's sake. Let every command be easy to you, 
on account of the faith you have in Holy Obedience. Are you 
sure of the steps you take, of the solidity of your work, of the 
strength of your spirit? In the way of obedience not only will 
you walk, but you will fly like royal eagles and spend a quiet and 
happy life, being able to repeat to yourselves, ‘T am sure I am 
doing God’s Will.” Remember, no one ever became a Saint 
without obedience, for it is obedience which is the favourite virtue 
of all the Saints. Do not do things by halves, but let your obedi¬ 
ence be entire and perfect, just like that of Jesus. Firstly, in the 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

performance of it, by following promptly, entirely and happily all 
that is ordered by the Superior; secondly, as regards the will, by 
not wishing for anything but what the Superior wishes; thirdly, 
as regards your judginent, by judging and thinking as the Superior 
judges and thinks. Which of you, daughters, has not contracted 
debts with God in the course of your life? Well, a sure way and 
means of paying your debts to God is that of submitting oneself to 
a true and perfect obedience, seeing that obedience is of far greater 
value than any penance whatsoever you can imagine. ‘'Melior 
est obedientia quam victim^e.” Most sweet will be the death of 
obedient souls. 

Always late; we arrive at Callao only on the 22nd. I rose at 
four o’clock, and at five-fifteen I called Mother Chiara to get up 
in the hope of going ashore at six a.m. and then taking the train 
for Lima, where I wanted to satisfy my desire of receiving 
Holy Communion at the Sepulchre of Saint Rose. But very soon 
our hopes vanished, for at seven-thirty none of the customs officers 
had arrived, and no boats were allowed to come near the steamer 
under penalty of a heavy fine. They came at last, but what was 
our surprise to learn that there was no train to Lima until nine 
a.m. I didn’t know what to do. Mother Chiara had fought long 
enough with the sea, and it was impossible for her to remain 
fasting much longer. As for myself, I did not want to lose my 
promised Communion in honour of Saint Rose, having made 
many promises to her and having confided to her care the rest 
of our journey and the interests I am engaged in furthering. I 
could manage the fast all right, having had no trouble with the 
sea, only playing with the waves, as it were, delighting in their 
impotence and their breaking and rising like foam and mist, 
which resembled at times some part of the Niagara Falls, which 
I saw near Buffalo, U.S.A., about three years ago. We took the 
train and arrived in Lima at ten a.m. We hired a cab to the 
Dominican Church, where we were able to satisfy our devotion. 
On the Altar where I received Holy Communion there was a 
statue of the Infant Jesus with His arms extended, bearing a 
celestial smile on His face of extraordinary beauty. He seemed to 
gaze on me and to say, 'Tt is here I have waited to favour thee, 
through the merits of my beloved Rosa, whom you have come to 
honour.” The look of this Infant, so real, penetrated the very 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


depths of my soul, and such was the comfort I felt, that I forgot 
all about my fast, as well as all other human wants, so much so, 
that I found I hadn’t even taken as much as a sip of coffee, and 
it was one p.m. If it is thus Jesus rewards a little sacrifice, what 
will He not do for souls who are really faithful to Him ? 

But let us return to the Dominican Basilica, where, after Holy 
Communion, the Reverend Fathers showed us the different Altars, 
especially the one where Saint Rose’s head is venerated. The 
Saint’s head is enclosed in a silver urn placed above another urn 
which contains the ashes of Blessed Martin de Porres. The Altars 
are all adorned with big statues, some of which are truly beautiful. 
The Saints are so realistically represented in life-size, that one 
would almost think they could speak, but amongst the statues are 
some which are dressed, according to the taste of the individual 
who honoured these particular Saints, but which does not tend 
to enhance devotion. When the statues are adorned with taste, and 
especially when the colours correspond as far as possible with the 
natural features of the Saints, then the Faithful show them more 
love and devotion, otherwise they do not appeal to them. On 
leaving the church, we saw many women placing their finger on 
a leaden seal at the mouth of a leaden pipe, which was enclosed 
in a column where the Holy Water fount is placed. With a finger 
in that position they prayed with great fervour. I asked them 
why they did so, and a woman, surprised at our astonishment, 
answered, ‘‘But do you not know that this is an authentic seal 
from Rome, and tliat by placing your finger on it and saying an 
Our Father, you relieve a soul from Purgatory?” Not to surprise 
them more, I also touched the seal with my finger, and then said 
a Pater Noster for the Holy Souls. To tell the truth, I never 
heard of such a devotion in Rome. But we were not satisfied 
with venerating only the head of Saint Rose. So the guide told 
us to go to St. Rosa de los Padres, where we would find the rest 
of the relics. We went in the direction shown us, and presently 
in the place pointed out to us, we found a beautiful new church, 
very devotional and well kept. The good Sacristan showed us 
the relics of the Saint, which are distributed amongst the different 
Altars. In one of the chapels there was a large crucifix and glass 
case, where we found the remains of the Saint. The crucifix is 
the one she used herself. At the two sides of the Altar there are 

120 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

two glass cases, each containing an arm of the Saint. On another 
Altar we saw the cross of wood on which, prostrate on the floor, 
she used to pray, and to which she used to tie herself in order to 
imitate her Saviour, her Spouse, when she was not undergoing 
other crucifixions—those of the spirit, which are better—real 
crucifixions in the strictest sense, which serve so well to purify 
souls and unite them intimately with their Beloved. From such 
crucifixions, this beloved of the Crucified, of whom I speak, had 
much to suffer. On another Altar we saw the discipline and the 
instruments of her penance, while in a frame is placed a letter 
written by the Saint herself. On this same Altar was a picture 
of Our Lady with the Divine Infant of rare beauty in her arms. 
This picture captivates the soul simply by looking at it. It is 
believed that the picture represents the Infant who gave the 
mystical ring of marriage to Saint Rose, and to whom the Saint 
always had recourse for advice before beginning any new enter¬ 
prise. The Sacristan then took us to the spot where stood the 
Saint’s house, which is beside the sacred edifice we had visited. 
It is a large piece of ground, whereon are laid the foundations of 
a large church bearing the form of a Latin Cross. When the 
large, beautiful and strong colonnades had almost reached the 
cornice, a terrible rebellion broke out and threw the whole city 
of Lima into confusion. The Relig[ious were ill-treated, many 
being sent into exile and their Convents destroyed. Since that 
unfortunate episode, there has been no thought of continuing the 
magnificent work already begun. It is a great pity, for the place 
would become a celebrated Sanctuary, seeing that it holds the 
well of the Saint, which corresponds with the centre of the church, 
while there is the grotto in the garden where she used to withdraw 
for prayer, and which would be one of the aisles of the church, to 
say nothing of the precious relics above-mentioned and others 
which are deposited in various Convents of the Sisters. Having 
satisfied our devotion towards the Saint, we went to visit the 
Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Macchi, who received us very kindly, 
and gave us a very kind letter of recommendation to the Super¬ 
intendent of the South American Company, asking that he might 
let us have tickets at reduced fares, for which reason I had called 
on him. We spoke of our voyage, and he gave us instructions to 
visit certain places for the purpose of transacting business matters 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


connected with our Missions. He knows all the coast as far as 
Valparaiso very well, having travelled on this very steamer to 
pay a return visit to Monsignor Casanova, Archbishop of Santiago. 
With the blessing and good wishes of this good Prelate, I visited 
another part of the city so as to have something to write about to 
you. Lima is beautiful when compared with the other cities I 
saw in South America, but I cannot call it really beautiful. It 
resembles the old portion of New Orleans, U.S.A., where the poor 
people of that great town reside. We only saw something really 
beautiful when we entered St. Peter’s. You may compare St. 
Peter’s with churches to be found in Genoa. Dressed-up Saints 
are banished from this church. Everything is well ordered, be¬ 
coming and richly appointed. It was one when we entered 
St. Peter’s and Mass was being celebrated, at which we assisted 
with great consolation, after ten days privation of the Most Holy 
Sacrament. The architecture is superb, a good style, with rich 
and various kinds of marble. From the altar hung beautiful 
tapestries, elegantly and profusely embroidered in very fine gold. 
The statues were also numerous here. They seemed life-like and 
in good order. It was the last day of the Octave of Blessed 
Margaret Mary Alacoque, and on one side of the High Altar there 
was a temporary altar in her honour, adorned with lilies and 
roses, with a background of beautiful pink cloth which threw out 
in high relief the roses and the lilies. How happy I was to see our 
Patron in the midst of this triumphant altar, truly appropriate for 
this virgin, whom the good Jesus, in the loving designs of His 
goodness, pre-ordained from eternity to establish and propagate 
the devotion of His Divine Heart, manifesting to her Its wonders 
of piety, clemency, power and love. This dear virgin, worthy 
daughter of St. Francis de Sales, corresponded with such rare 
fidelity with the designs of her celestial Spouse and worked with 
such ardent and generous zeal to fulfil her vocation, that both 
Heaven and earth were moved to admiration. Words are inade¬ 
quate to express how much she suffered and worked to diffuse such 
a rare and salutary devotion, for the demon, who knew the incom¬ 
parable advantages that she would bring to the peoples of every 
nation, worked against our dear Virgin Protectress with such 
Satanic violence, that, to human understanding, it seemed impossible 
to conquer and overcome his attacks. But truly loving and faithful 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

souls are not discouraged, and it was thus with our Blessed 
Margaret. She knew that the work she was destined to establish 
came from Heaven. Her courage and confidence did not waver. 
Entirely abandoning herself, like a strong and true Missionary, to 
the loving piety of her beloved Jesus, coupled with the industry of 
an enlightened and generous charity, she knew how to triumph 
over all obstacles, meriting thus to see before she died this Divine 
Heart known, loved and glorified by a large number of devout souls. 
As a recompense for so much generosity of action. Blessed 
Margaret Mary now contemplates in Heaven the beauty of the 
Divine Heart. She enjoys peace, happiness and sovereign delights, 
and can at every instant talk to Him unveiled, implore and obtain 
great graces, and she will certainly implore them for you if you 
honour her but especially if you imitate her. She will comfort you 
with her most powerful intercession. She herself carries your 
ardent prayers to the throne of God, and, as a reward for your 
zeal, she will place you all in the loving Heart of Jesus, and 
obtain for you the grace to live that same life, which is all humility, 
all meekness, all obedience, all sacrifice, all love. 

At St. Peter’s we met the Jesuit Fathers, who told me to visit 
the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, where we could get some re¬ 
freshments. They have a Government School, a lovely house 
close to St. Peter’s. Many years ago, before the great rebellion 
destroyed everything, this house belonged to the Jesuits, being a 
celebrated college and novitiate. Now the Jesuits have a smaller 
house opposite the Convent of the Sacred Heart, but it will be 
enlarged in time, as their schools are always frequented by the 
principal families of the town. The Reverend Mother of the 
Ladies of the Sacred Heart received us very cordially, and whilst 
they were getting our lunch ready, she conducted us round the 
house. It is a very nice place, indeed, and the arrangements 
are so well carried out, that it is most suitable for the different 
classes of children who frequent it. The good Sisters wanted us 
to stay over-night, but I could not do so, having some business 
to attend to at Callao concerning our voyage. 

I wanted to visit the Cathedral, but they dissuaded me from 
doing so, as it is ugly within and without, the exterior having 
been ruined by the cannon fire that was directed against it. This 
will surprise you, but I can explain the fact at once. One of the 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


first acts of these revolutionaries is always to attack the Cathedral 
of a town, and the first of the two hostile partieb who gains 
possession of the Cathedral is considered the victor. Perhaps 
their intentions are good, for those are declared the victors who 
have the good fortune to secure the Sanctuary for themselves, 
but we cannot deny that they deface God^s temple and destroy 
the most beautiful monuments. They say “adelantados mucho,’’ 
which means very enlightened, but, to tell the truth, their customs 
and manners are those of the aboriginal Indians. 

I like the custom of having Holy Mass at one p.m. This is done 
daily in all the churches, at which many men and women assist 
with a truly edifying devotion. There is a society in Lima which 
defrays the expenses of these late Masses. 

We returned to Callao towards evening. Our steamer had 
already reached the docks, so there was no necessity to take 
a small boat to go on board. Both officers and crew were glad 
to see us again, inquired how we liked Lima and how our trip 
went off. 

The next day the Captain introduced us to the Superintendent, 
Mr. Kenny, of Callao, and succeeded so well with the English 
Company, that he obtained a thirty-three per cent, reduction for 
us. We, who could not expect more, were quite satisfied, but 
not so the good Captain, who said that as soon as we reached 
Valparaiso, he would go to the General Agency and get us a fifty 
per cent, reduction, as he admired our life of sacrifice, for which 
he said we deserved every consideration. 

Callao is a very important port. It has a very nice large dock, 
to receive the steamers, which is only opened and accessible when 
the steamers arrive. 

October 29th. We have been ‘‘coasting” since the 15th, that is, 
since we left Guayaquil. The coast is so dry and sandy that one 
would imagine we were sailing along the great desert of Arabia, 
instead of being on the waters of the Pacific. There are no trees, 
no grass, only a variety of rocks. For two days we have been 
sailing along certain mountains whose peaks are all one height 
and look like a big extended wall, broken by a few valleys and 
watered by torrents that descend from the Andes, which, before 
rushing into the sea, form creeks, but eventually yield to the force 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

of the formidable waves and then mix with the salty waters of 
the sea. In these valleys are cities and towns that export vege¬ 
tables and fruit to other places which suffer drought, and where 
the inhabitants as yet can find no means of growing a tree 
or any plant whatsoever, the soil being too poor for the culti¬ 
vation of even a garden. This occurs especially at Chala and 
Antofagasta, where all the mountains contain great quantities of 
saltpetre, which, evaporating, rises during the day to fall on the 
earth at night under the aspect of a thick fog which burns up 
every kind of vegetation. These great mountainous walls arise 
like impregnable fortresses defying the heavens. Now and again 
they take the form of heights, from which the slope extends itself 
like a mantle and ends in a scarcely perceptible bay. There a 
town is seen to arise and a port where many steamers enter, 
especially sailing vessels, which lie in the harbour for weeks await¬ 
ing a cargo of saltpetre, which they transport to Europe through 
the Straits of Magellan; if the vessel is a steamer, it goes round 
Cape Horn; if it is a sailing vessel, it takes about four months to 
complete the journey. This saltpetre is used in Europe to fertilize 
the earth. From this arises the Proverb that we take the best 
part of the bread and leave them the crust; which means that they 
have little if any profit. But the Proverb does not apply in the 
commercial or financial world; much money is made out of various 
silver, tin and iron mines, as well as out of saltpetre and guano. 

During these days of our journey we stopped at sixteen ports— 
Guayaquil, Tombes, Payta, Pimentel, Eten, Pacasmayo, Salaverri, 
Callao, Tombe de Mora, Pisco, Chala, Quilca, Mollendo, Ilo, Arica, 
Pesagua. It is lovely to watch the train as it travels through 
these mining countries, playing, as it were, on the edges of the 
precipices, which lie below the zig-zag rails. In some parts there 
are funiculars owing to the steep slopes, and accidents are frequent. 
But all this does not retard lovers of buried treasures from 
continuing their traffic. These big mountains are called little hills 
by the people here, and so they are when compared with the great 
Andes, just as we regard the hills in Piedmont in comparison 
with the Alps and Apennines. To reach the Andes it is necessary 
to cross this desert for about nine miles or more. The Cordigliera 
is really portentous and imposing. It begins in the island of Diego 
Ranires, of Cape Horn, enters South America through 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


Patagonia, and then runs northward, forming a reef first along 
the Pacific Ocean, whose waters little by little penetrate the 
Cordigliera, making deep bays. But even here the Andes are 
not very high, the lowest parts measuring two or three thousand 
feet and the highest nine thousand feet. Entering Chili,^ the chain 
begins and rises until it reaches to a considerable height in Bolivia. 
One can admire what is supposed to be the highest peak of the 
Andes, the Aconcagua, the height of which is from twenty-three 
to twenty-four thousand feet above the level of the sea. With a 
height of about eleven or fourteen thousand feet, this formidable 
range continues all through Bolivia and Peru, now and again 
thrusting up other heights or peaks covered with perpetual snow. 
At interv^als one sees traces of paths, in communication with dif¬ 
ferent countries, and at this point the lowest height is about six¬ 
teen thousand feet above sea level. Even at this height there 
are fields like those on the plains, for the Cordigliera is about four 
hundred miles wide. On one of these is to be found the famous 
lake Titacaca, which is the highest in the world. All along the 
coast of Peru and reaching the line of the Equator, this range 
runs until it unites with the volcanoes, the most celebrated of 
which are the Chimborazo and the Cotopaxi. There we see with 
wondering eyes peaks which seem to touch the very heavens, and 
often appear cut by the clouds and reduced to vapour. These 
peaks then break into three divisions. One takes the north-west 
direction until it reaches the sea of the Antilles, another passes 
through the centre joining the above and reaches the Antilles 
while the third turns to the north-east on the east of the Orinoco, 
enters the State of Venezuela and reaches the sea of the Antilles. 
It is said that the hottest part of the earth’s interior is at the 
Equator. Those who live in the Isthmus say that the mouth of 
the interior furnace or of hell is on the Isthmus. Also it is said 
that thence one can also go straight to Heaven, if not too immersed 
in earthly things—if so immersed, one falls into hell, and, amongst 
other miseries, there is the gnashing of teeth. In the whole length 
of the Andes exist active volcanoes, which, in the neighbourhood 
of the Equator, are so violent that one of them by its eruption 
—the Cotopaxi—has formed another mountain right beside it. The 
Andes run along Columbia, presenting to the sight many pretty 
and imposing views; thence it continues on through Central Amer- 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

ica and Mexico, where we also find extremely active volcanoes. 
Entering into the United States, they bear the name of Rocky 
Mountains along the west coast. Then, taking a course through 
Alaska to Asia, they reach the Aleutian Islands, forming a con¬ 
nection between the Arctic and Antarctic, having on the west the 
Pacific Ocean. In the north of Asia there is another chain that 
runs along the other side, and to the west there is another volcanic 
chain that seems to merge into and lose itself in the sea, though 
it reappears in Australia, where it throws up volcanoes, renowned 
for their peculiarities, which are crowned here and there, as it 
were with lakes of fire. The Pacific Ocean seems closed, both 
on the east and the west, by an unbroken chain of volcanic moun¬ 
tains. I have described the Andes for you, because our fellow- 
passengers, who know we are travelling over and will probably 
cross the Andes at Valparaiso, speak a great deal of the Andes, 
and their beauty and the facts which make them famous—^very 
often with maps in their hands—and thus every point is described 
so vividly that I imagine I can touch it with my hand. Having 
to cross the Aconcagua, I shall have something to tell you about 
it. In the meanwhile, I think the Cordigliera presents a good 
lesson to the Missionary, running as it does all over the earth, 
without fear of seas, atmosphere, unhealthy places, etc. and almost 
teaching us when it rises towards Heaven with its great heights 
and when it humbles itself, hiding itself in the waves of the sea; it 
preaches also when it sends out fire, smoke and lava, adding force 
to the winds that lash within its gorges. In Boyaca, for instance, 
especially in the Popayan, to which place we have been invited, it 
thunders terribly every day, with lightning that seems to reduce 
one to ashes; so in all this one can very easily find food for pious 
meditation, on death. 

October 3Ht. Iquique. Within the space of a few days we 
stopped at four ports—Iquique, Tocohilla, Cobija and Antofagasta. 
We had hoped to reach Iquique early in the morning so as to 
be able to go to Holy Communion, but the steamer arrived a 
little late at Pasagua, and the Superintendent of the port would 
not let us land, so we had to pass the night there on board. In 
the morning the staff was very busy importing and exporting the 
merchandise, as well as in receiving and landing passengers. Hav- 


Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 

ing arrived at Iqiiique at night, the vessel loaded very hurriedly, 
for we were a day behind and the Captain did not wish to lose any 
more time. We had sufficient leisure, however, to go ashore before 
sunset and pay our respects to the Bishop, as Monsignor Macchi 
desired us to do, and so we seized the opportunity of meeting that 
worthy Prelate who is a real missionary to a population of twenty- 
five thousand inhabitants. The first thing he did on taking up his 
episcopal duties was to build a beautiful and very devotional church, 
and he has since laid the foundation stone of a second, which he 
hopes to complete in six months, an easy task here,- as the churches 
are made of wood. We visited the Blessed Sacrament rather 
hurriedly, as the evening was far advanced and we did not relish 
the prospect of committing ourselves to the waves in the dark, 
more especially in this open port and for a distance of five miles. 

Mother Chiara, who finds this voyage very long, thought we 
had reached the Red Sea to open a mission in Africa; it is very 
funny, indeed, the waters are of a bright red colour—blood colour, 
in fact. Perhaps it tends to remind us of the heavy wars between 
Chili and Peru, in 18S0, when so many fell victims, especially 
among the soldiers of Peru. At the summit of the mountains, 
which run along the coast, and form a kind of wall, the Peruvian 
soldiers took up their position, but were surrounded by the Chilians, 
who are noted for their strength both on land and sea. They were 
driven over the edge and then precipitated, both horses and men, 
into the sea, and to such a depth (which in these parts always 
extends to some miles) that not even the remains of the com¬ 
batants could be recovered by the Peruvians. 

Iquique is lovely; its roads are large and straight, it has also 
pretty houses, though they are not very high, and well-kept shops, 
especially those of the Italians, who are quite numerous, and who 
are very comfortably circumstanced and are held in respect. There 
is, however, not a tree nor a blade of grass to be found anywhere. 
Neither is there a well nor a stream. Water for drinking and 
for domestic purposes has to be procured at the distance of a 
day’s journey from the town, and so also with regard to cereals, 
flour, fruit, vegetables, wine, olives, sugar, coffee, forage, almost 
everything has to be imported by sea from other countries, so 
you may imagine what it costs to live in this city. Fortunately, 
it is inhabited by the rich, who pay the poor well, so that all 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

live comfortably. The air is good, but the people here do not 
live long, and foreigners, who are not very strong, fall into rapid 
decline. Notwithstanding, the emissaries of the devil have pene¬ 
trated here and have done grave harm. How is it that the 
emissaries of the devil have less fear than the followers of Christ ? 
Let us reflect on this, to humble ourselves, for often we think 
of health and dangers before we give ourselves up to our Divine 
Lord, the glory of God and the salvation of souls. 

Since we left Panama, we had on board a Protestant minister, 
one of the worst type, being an Irishman from the north-east of 
Ireland. This minister came from Chicago and is stopping at 
Iquique. You should have seen how he tried to capture, now one 
and then another of the young men. With one he stayed till mid¬ 
night preaching his errors. Fortunately, the young man, as did the 
others, made light of him and his statements. When he saw that 
they made fun of him, he began preaching Liberty of Conscience, 
but he only made matters worse for himself, and then, with his 
Bible in his hand, he tried to force his diabolical interpretations on 
his listeners. He finished off by becoming, both he and his wife, 
objects of ridicule. So far things were most consoling. He thought 
he was going to find those who would drink in the doctrine he 
offered them, but instead, he met with excellent Spanish-Ameri- 
cans, who were well instructed in their religion. But at Iquique, I 
fear he will play havoc. The only hope lies in the strength of the 
Bishop, who is studying every means to weaken the efforts of these 
proselytizers and repair the harm they do. See how dangerous 
these times are to our faith, to our august religion and to sound 
morals, for the emissaries of Satan, violent apostles of unrestrained 
liberty and freedom of speech, make use of all kinds of oppor¬ 
tunities and snares, and go not only into the towns, but even into 
remote villages to spread their errors and doctrines, which are, 
as you know, condemned by the Church. It seems as if all the 
diabolical powers of hell have combined in directing their satanic 
efforts to combat and persecute the Church, her doctrines and her 
morals, her laws, her worship, her ministers, and all that she 
possesses of holiness and reverence. In the meantime, the weak, 
lukewarm, incautious, drink in the venemous errors, the fatal 
maxims of which pervert the mind and corrupt the heart, miserably 
dragging innumerable souls to eternal perdition. One cannot but 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


grieve over this terrible war which the demon never ceases to rage 
against our holy Religion. One trembles for the frightful future 
that awaits the world if God does not show an efficacious way 
out, which must be something out of the ordinary, as the evils 
that are now affecting the Church are extraordinary. 

Continuing our journey, and passing several ports, we arrived 
at Antofagasta, an important port for the merchants of Sucre 
and Potose. It was a lovely morning, and we were longing to 
receive Holy Communion in order to be able to overcome the 
dangers and vehemence of the foaming waves, which at every 
stroke seemed about to capsize the boat. Antofagasta is a lovely 
city, which is being magnified by the construction of beautiful 
houses, squares and pleasant walks. It has one Catholic Church 
which is really beautiful, and which helps one’s devotion and is 
an aid to recollection. On our arrival, one Mass was just being 
finished, but another began immediately, as if providentially ar¬ 
ranged for us. So we received Holy Communion and refreshed 
ourselves spiritually after the long fast we had been forced to 
make. When we had finished our devotions, we visited the parish 
priest, who is a very pious and zealous man. He was delighted 
to see us, hoping we would open a House there, but he was equally 
disappointed when he heard what our destination was. He learnt 
all he could about our Colleges, hoping that some day we might 
settle there. We made calls at Tocopilla, Cobija, Taltal, Caldera, 
Calligol, and also at Coquimbo, where we spent the day, and where 
we rejoiced at seeing some vegetation, after having sailed for so 
many days along the dry arid coasts, where at night one could 
not enjoy the bracing sea air because it is marred by the fog 
which rises from the land steeped in saltpetre. This fog falls 
in the shape of very fine rain, and instead of restoring, dries 
up every plant it meets and shortens the lives of the people who 
live there. At Coquimbo we found that Spring was advancing, 
and from the neighbouring city—Serena, so famous in Chili—there 
arrived an abundance of lovely fruit, peaches, pears, figs, melons 
and cucumbers, and all such things that one would expect, not 
merely in Spring but also in the Summer and Autumn. The grape, 
however, ripens only once a year, i.e., in the month of January, 
when it is full Summer, whilst we in Lombardy freeze like crows. 

At last the dear steamer, Mapocho, arrived at Valparaiso, our 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

destination, the following morning. After having passed the 
length of that long desert, one seems to have entered the Vale of 
Heaven. It is a beautiful harbour, much like that of Genoa, and, 
like it, also, favoured by nature. It is really charming. It seems 
a large city, and appears larger than it is, for it is built on the 
slope of a hill, or, to speak more correctly, on the boot of the 
Cordigliera. It is so steep that from the lower part of the town, 
which consists of a long row of cottages, you ascend by means of 
a funicular railway, which resembles a house lift, and, looking 
out of the windows, you discover you are hanging over a deep 
precipice. Mother Chiara closed her eyes, for it made her feel 
faint. As soon as we got into Valparaiso itself, we went to Mr. 
E. Escobar, who is a very distinguished person and to whom we 
had been recommended, but there was great sorrow and desolation 
in his family, for Mrs. E. Escobar was very ill and almost on 
the point of death. The relatives, who had come to help and 
console him, were ill also. Mr. Escobar, however, wanted to see 
us and to show his interest in us. He sent us to the excellent 
parish priest. Padre Manero, who, in return, recommended us to 
the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, who have a very nice School 
here. These good ladies received us as if we were their sisters, 
and would not let us leave them. We had our luggage to see to, 
as also our crossing the Cordigliera. We then went to visit Mr. 
Severin, another friend, to whom we had been recommended. He 
was very kind and very energetic. He took all our luggage and 
deposited it in his own business premises, ready for despatch to 
Buenos Aires at the proper moment. As his family is at Santiago, 
he asked us to go there and visit them, and also the city itself, 
which is really beautiful and deserves a visit. Even the Ladies 
of the Sacred Heart extended a similar invitation. They wrote 
to their House there in order that a room might be prepared for 
us. Four days later we boarded the train, and passed along the 
charming coast, which resembles the western coast of Genoa. 
Then we passed through superb villages, and entered the moun¬ 
tainous region at the foot of the Cordigliera. After passing through 
the great plains, we reached Santiago. The journey lasted four 
days. We went to the Convent as if going to one of our own, 
and were received with great cordiality. The day afterwards we 
visited His Grace, Archbishop Monsicasanova, who is held in 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


great esteem by the whole Republic. He received us very kindly, 
and thought we had come to open a House, but when he heard 
I was on my way to Buenos Aires, he assumed an authoritative 
tone and said I had to rest a few months there after such a long 
voyage, and in the meantime visit the country and settle on a 
foundation, to which I should return as soon as possible. Though 
his words were very pleasant to listen to, they were really like 
so many thorn pricks to my heart, as I saw that I was losing 
time in travelling whilst I had so much to do, and the time seems 
to pass so quickly. But it is useless to worry about it, as the 
Company of the Cordigliera can afford us no means of passage 
owing to the mountain roads being closed to traffic by the snow, 
which is about three metres high, and the road will not be passable 
until November. We must have patience, for nothing happens by 
accident. Everything takes place according to the all-wise Time 
Table of Divine Providence. God has His designs, and wishes 
me, perhaps, to acquire a good knowledge of the Republic of Chili. 
In fact, both the Sisters and Mr. Severin are so good. Mrs. Severin 
takes us out for carriage drives almost every day, so we have an 
opportunity of getting to know the country well. Santiago is very 
nice and interesting. It has wonderful churches, beautiful build¬ 
ings, stupendous squares and magnificent gardens, with enclosures 
for animals and fountains for fish, displaying every kind of plant 
representative of every climate and country. 

The character of the Chilians is gay, open, strong and energetic. 
They love progress almost to excess. We showed them several of 
our prospectuses. Thus they became acquainted with the instruc¬ 
tion given in our Schools and tried their best to make us stay, 
promising to fill our School with children. Amongst other great 
men of the Republic, one, who has a child four years old, said, 
'‘You must come back within two years' time; if not, during the 
war we have with the Argentines we'll take you prisoner, and then 
make you open a School for us here, as I want to send my little 
girl to you." 

I spent twenty-five long days here, long, indeed, for me, as I 
did not want to lose time. Finally, they informed us that the roads 
were open and that the first caravan was about to start. Both the 
Sisters and other good friends tried to detain us, saying that the 
first journey over the Andes is often dangerous, and that if we 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

were overtaken by bad weather, we should be in danger of losing 
our lives amidst the mountainous passes. But nothing could in¬ 
duce me to stop longer and continue that involuntary rest. I felt 
I was ready to face any difficulty. 

We first visited a Chapel of St. Philomena, the Wonder-worker, 
so much venerated here. We received Holy Communion at her 
altar, begging her to unite with St. Rose in protecting us. We 
made our thanksgiving at the back of the church, near an altar 
on which is venerated a picture of the martyrdom of the Saint. 
Whilst I was absorbed in prayer to the Saint, who inspired me 
with great confidence, telling her all my needs and necessities, a 
very gentle voice whispered in my ear, “Esta es una pequena 
limosnita,'' '‘This is only a small offering.^’ I was so absorbed in 
laying my petition before the Saint, that I thought the words 
I heard were an illusion of my imagination, and so I made no 
movement. Again the soft voice repeated the same words. Then 
I raised my head, and, looking round, I saw someone offering me 
pieces of gold. I turned and saw it was the holy man, Canon M. 
Marchian Pereira, Guardian of the Sanctuary, who very humbly 
kept on saying, "Es pequena, es pequena mas es St. Filomena 
que la da," and then quickly withdrew. The gift was of the 
value of 100 lire, which the good man felt urged to give us without 
being asked, and I received it all the more gratefully, as obviously 
the good Saint had begun to help us even before we had finished 
our petitions to her. 

Having finished our thanksgivings, we went to thank the good 
Canon, who said he was only too happy to help us, as we were 
Missionaries. He made us presents of books, pictures and the cords 
of the Saint, which are worn by her devout clients. Then he gave 
me an image of the Wonder-worker, asking me to keep it in my 
pocket-book. He himself placed it there, saying, "Keep it there. 
Mother, and you will never be in need of money for your In¬ 
stitute." I was very much impressed, as he seemed to be inspired. 
You may imagine that I shall treasure this picture as a precious 

On the 23rd of November, supplied with large baskets of pastry, 
fruit, wine, honey, etc., and accompanied by a number of ladies 
and Si.sters, we took train for Los Andes, a town at the foot 

Pananm to Biienos Aires — October, 1895 


of the Cordigliera, where we were to pass the night, in order to 
be ready on the 24th, after having observed the Feast of the day, 
for the journey by caravan, which was to pick us up in a place 
further on. 

At Los Andes we were received most kindly by the Sisters called 
Hospitallers, to whom we had been recommended by the people 
of Santiago. They gave us the best room in their poor Convent. 
The next morning, other Sisters of the same Order, from another 
House in the neighbourhood, came to bid us farewell and accom¬ 
pany us in the train as far as the Chilians have been able to go, 
up to the present, with their railways up these great mountains, 
which, the higher we go, the steeper and higher they seem to run. 

At eleven, after having heard Holy Mass and received 
Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, Who, like a Valiant 
Giant, was going to conduct us over these great heights; after 
having had a good breakfast, which, owing to the keen air, seemed 
to be more appetising than usual; favoured with the blessing of 
the good parish priest of the town and accompanied by a larger 
company of the good Sisters Hospitaliers, who came in great 
numbers, we boarded the train along the river, which has its source 
in the Aconcagua. We passed through a chain of mountains in a 
pleasant and picturesque country, which, while presenting awe¬ 
inspiring scenes, greatly delighted the passengers. We crossed a 
small bridge, called the "‘Soldier's Jump," feared by everyone. It 
spans a chasm between two rocks of grey stone so narrow and 
deep that the bottom cannot be seen. One only hears the strange 
rumbling of the rushing waters in the fearful depths below. Cer¬ 
tainly, if anyone had the misfortune to fall into this abyss, they 
would never again behold the light of day, nor would it be known 
what manner of death they had had. It did not make much of an 
impression on me, because I seemed to remember having seen 
many of such horrifying chasms. I, however, enjoyed the impres¬ 
sion made on these good Sisters, and how enthusiastically they 
spoke of it as they drew near to and passed over it, and how 
they pitied us with regard to the rest of the journey that awaited 
us. Shortly after we had passed the “Soldier's Jump," the train 
stopped and we alighted to take our places in the coaches that 
were drawn up to convey the passengers. The good Sisters re¬ 
turned by train, after having helped us to make ourselves as com- 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

fortable as possible, while we with good mules—six to each coach, 
following always the course of the same river—penetrated into 
those vast gorges where only now and then a few pines of harsh 
colour and dark green appeared. 

The river was swollen, and in several places its foaming waters 
with their milky spray made a terrifying noise. Further on it 
looked as if we were going to be covered by the mountain, as a 
part of it appeared to fall over the river. At some points the 
heights were magnificent, whilst behind the mountain the river 
descended in the form of a precipitous cascade. Then suddenly 
it slackened its force and took the form of a small torrent, the 
waters of which seemed to play with the pebbles, and, amidst the 
enonnous rocks, deposited in the bed of the river. Then it 
widened again to thousands of bends, which we had to follow 
with great exactitude, as the river was our only guide along the 
route. Finally, after a journey of five or more hours, we reached 
Juneal, which consists of a few houses amidst the mountain peaks. 
This was to be our grand lodging for the night. 

Some arrived earlier, other later, than ourselves. We were 
about forty-five passengers, who, early the next morning, were to 
undertake, in a caravan with mules, the journey through the most 
difficult pass of the Cordigliera. As soon as the coaches arrived, 
the passengers rushed to go to bed for the night. We made our 
way also, but, as the others were quicker, they arrived first and 
consequently were served first. Not knowing what to do, we went 
to the one who was to drive the caravan the next day, and, as he 
inspired us with very little confidence, we were very cautious in 
our dealings with him. At first he was somewhat rude, but finally, 
at our repeated requests, he softened towards us. He told us that 
on the other side of the mountain, where he pointed with his 
finger, there were first-class apartments, better than these, where 
he and his wife were going to put up, and that if we went there 
after supper we would find everything all right. 

Shortly afterwards an old man, of pleasant aspect, resembling 
somewhat St. Joseph, said to me, ‘T am one of the muleteers 
appointed to act as guide to one of you to-morrow, and as I am 
going to sleep on the other side of the mountain, you need have 
no fear/' His kind way and serious character inspired us with 
confidence, and so we went to table with more courage, and ate 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


of the coarse and badly cooked food and hard black bread as if 
it were the most dainty food, for the air of the village sharpened 
our appetites in a most extraordinary manner. 

At table all spoke of the morrow’s crossing; some of its great 
dangers, others of their fear of the mists which are fatal to those 
who are crossing the Pass. Stories were also told of the frost that 
in some of the passes freezes the limbs, and of the atmosphere 
which hurts the eyes and causes the skin to bleed. 

A delightful description, indeed! Still, with all this discourage¬ 
ment, I felt safe and happy, for I knew if Our Lord had so far 
helped and blessed us. He would do so to the end. I also took 
comfort in the hope of meeting with something new which I could 
tell you, since, to myself, after four long voyages, everything 
appeared quite familiar. I felt sorry for Mother Chiara, who 
heard all this, and who, I thought, might have changed her mind 
after her departure from Valparaiso. But when I asked her which 
way she preferred to travel, by land or sea, over the Andes or 
through the Straits of Magellan, she answered, ‘‘A thousand times 
over the Andes rather than by sea again.” So I said to myself. 
“All is well.” 

When the meal was over, we took a little air in the bright moon¬ 
light, which shone very brilliantly. The mountains appeared to 
touch the sky and seemed covered with a beautiful blue mantle, 
and raised us to a state of sublime ecstasy. The earth had the 
colour of the sky, while the passes of the mountains wore a blue 
of a darker shade, and gave one the idea of great clouds saluting 
their smiling queen. And really, that night the moon in all its 
splendour seemed to represent to us the beauty of our Queen, 
our Mother Mary, “pulchra ut Luna,” who had come to console 
us with her maternal look. Those who work in the Lord’s Vine¬ 
yard from morning till night are well rewarded if at the close of 
the day they receive a loving look from her who, after God, forms 
the happiness of the Blessed in Heaven. 

We wanted to prepare the points for our meditation, but nature 
had already prepared them for us. Looking at the moon and slcy, 
which seemed turned towards us, I thought I heard the sweet 
voice of Mary, with that of the most melodious voice of our dear 
Jesus, transporting us into an ecstasy of love. Methinks I saw 
the purity and holiness of Mary and the complacency of God in 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

her. What a great sweetness, what a greay joy in contemplating 
Jesus! But the night was advancing, and we had to go to rest, 
though it did not seem we should need sleep in this fine air. We 
abandoned ourselves to the care of our Heavenly Mother, and to 
her messengers who are the Angels particularly destined for 
pilgrims. Happy and tranquil, we turned towards the shelter on 
the other side of the mountains. 

Reaching a certain point, we lost our breath. A sort of weight 
oppressed us, and we could not understand what it was. Then 
we saw the old shepherd who resembled St. Joseph, running 
towards us to tell us to hasten, as we had reached the ‘‘puna,” 
a Spanish word meaning shortness of breath caused by the unstable 
temperature. We hastened our steps, and soon reached the spot 
where the air was pure and bracing. It was, indeed, a strange 
phenomenon, this shortness of breath in these mountains, and, if 
we had stopped longer, we might have died of suffocation. But 
the silver moon still shone in its silent language telling us that 
Mary, the Mother of God, still watched and protected us with 
incomparable tenderness. 

Having reached the inn, we found, what we had never expected 
to find amidst these rough mountains, a beautiful spring bed with 
good bedding, which the old man pointed out to us with much 
satisfaction and pleasure. He told us there was a key, and we 
could close ourselves in by barring the door. He told us also 
not to fear, for he would be in the stable next to the mules’ stables 
if we needed anything—an admirable instance of God’s Providence, 
and we reposed quite tranquilly. But the night passed in a moment, 
and at half-past three the noise of the shepherds preparing the 
mules and packing the luggage awoke us suddenly. We felt more 
tired than the night before, as we had had very rough treatment 
during our five-hour coach drive. We mustered up courage, how¬ 
ever, arose at four a.m., and dressed ourselves in long brown 
cloaks trimmed and lined with a kind of cheap fur, which were 
given to us by some ladies of Chili. We looked like two monks, 
but we began to feel the cold, and these cloaks were of great 
service to us. 

We descended to the first inn, where all were breakfasting, and 
we took our milk and coffee and hard bread as fast as we could, 
as everything was ready for the journey. We went out into the 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


open and saw two beautiful mules, with new equipment and two 
comfortable saddles. We thought they were for an opera singer 
and her companion who formed part of the company—but this 
time we were mistaken, for the nicest mules were for us, orders 
having been given that they should be assigned to us by the 
Superintendent of the Transandine Company. However, thankful 
we were for the favour, we were not so willing to accept it, be¬ 
cause it meant that we were to be the first to mount the mules, 
and, not being experienced, we preferred to see the others do so 
first in order to learn the art; but we had to give in. The St. 
Joseph of the previous evening came forward and stood with 
crossed hands so that I could mount the mule. As I refused, the 
whole company stood around to see what was going to happen next. 
The poor shepherd, so good and patient, went into the house and 
brought me a chair, which I accepted willingly. I then mounted, 
placing myself in the saddle and putting my feet in the stirrup, 
while taking the reins, I drew the mule round whilst the muleteer 
mounted his mule, and, moving forward, made way for me. 
Mother Chiara followed my example, accompanied by another 
muleteer, who, though he might not have resembled my St. 
Joseph, was very good also. All the others mounted their mules 
with much less trouble and followed us in processiop. 

The mountain was steep, but the pass for more than an hour 
was lovely and smooth. It was almost a pleasure to see the long 
procession that appeared to be climbing with a certain devotion, 
as the caravan looked like a devout band of pilgrims—so it 
seemed to me. Taking my beads in my hand, I was about to 
invite all to recite the Rosary in honour of the Queen of Heaven 
who had so blessed the day, and all certainly would have willingly 
replied to my invitation, as they seemed quite pleased to have in 
their company two Religious who appeared to them, owing to 
their goodness and faith, to be a guarantee for a prosperous 
journey across the Cordigliera. My project of the Rosary vanished 
very soon, for the beaten path had disappeared and we were 
obliged to make our way through the heavy snow. Two muleteers 
proceeded in advance, and having found it passable, shouted for 
us to follow their track. When we had got over one difficulty, 
another appeared. Afterwards, we found ourselves on the brink 
of precipices many kilometres deep. Then I tried to keep my 


Travels of Mother Finances Xavier Cabrini 

mule away from the edge, but the poor thing, knowing that it 
had an unpractical traveller in its saddle, always kept going 
straight, no matter how much I pulled it from one side to the 
other, and thus it would not obey me. When it approached too 
near the edge of a precipice, I shouted and spoke to it in Spanish, 
but to no purpose. The only thing that seemed to hurt it was 
when I attempted to alight. 

These terrible precipices almost turned Mother Chiara’s head, 
and, no matter how often I told her to sit straight, she lay like 
a sack of flour on the mule’s back, her head resting on the poor 
animal’s neck. Fortunately, the muleteers were more than good, 
and as in such difficulties one has enough to do to attend to 
oneself, I felt sure they would not fail Sister. 

Gradually we ascended higher and higher, when from afar we 
heard the shout for all to alight. Something’s the matter. A great 
chasm caused by the melting snow was an obstacle to further 
progress, unless we proceeded with great precaution. There was 
a general alarm; the men grumbled about the imprudence of 
conducting the caravan by this route, and the women cried quite 
hopelessly. Mother Chiara remained in deep silence. She lost her 
speech. Certainly she now repented of having chosen the Cordig- 
liera instead of the Magellan for our journey. Her only consolation 
was that when she raised her head I looked quiet and happy as 
one enjoying a magnificent spectacle. It was truly grand in 
all its horror. We were at a height where one perceived an 
immense abyss on one side, whilst on the other there was a vast 
expanse of pure white snow, while further ahead there were heights 
awaiting us. But just in front of us was that large crevice, long 
and deep, which seemed ready to swallow us up and bury us. 
The muleteers, though not without fear, tried to make some of 
the mules jump the crevice, and seeing that it could be done, 
encouraged the passengers to do the same. I, as you have heard, 
was at the head of the line, and I was willing to be the first to 
go forward in order to encourage the others, for, to speak truth¬ 
fully, I was not a bit afraid, feeling quite calm. My guide had his 
staff ready, as he thought he would have to carry me across, but 
I told him I could take longer jumps than the one across the 
crevice. He very respectfully showed me the danger, and then 
watched me attentively, knowing I would not fail to tell him 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


or call him if I needed help. I jumped, or at least attempted to, 
but, probably owing to the cold and the keen air which deprived 
me of strength, I realized too late that I was like a feather, which, 
however much it is thrown forward, does not move unless carried 
by the wind; and so I should have buried myself alive had it not 
been for the muleteer, who, seeing the danger, dismounted and, 
stretching his feet across the crevice, held me back on one side of 
the chasm until he, with the help of his comrade, sprang across 
to the other side, where he drew me by the arm after him into 
safety. The shock produced such palpitation of the heart that I 
thought I should have died. The good muleteer took me aside, 
and I fell fainting in the snow. I couldn’t speak a word, and it 
was obvious from the frightened looks of the good man that he 
expected a tragedy. But this was not God’s Will. As soon as I 
was able to speak, I told him to go and help the others; and I 
hadn’t to tell him twice, as the need was urgent. I remained 
alone, stretched on that white bed of snow, and little by little, 
helped by the pure air, the palpitation ceased, and I was as lively 
as ever. I arose to find that all had crossed the dangerous pass 
and that the muleteer was waiting for me to mount my mule again. 

We resumed our journey, and arrived at a higher point where 
we had to go through snow five metres high, which had been cut 
through by the Transandine Company for the caravan. It was 
a grand sight in passing through the fortress of snow, but not 
quite so pleasant to myself; as I was afraid of not being able to 
bear the cold. They told me to keep on my eye-glasses, so that 
the cold and great whiteness of the snow should not injure my 
sight, but I preferred to see where my mule went, not trusting to 
my eye-glasses, which I did not find very helpful. Pulling the 
elastic, I put them sometimes on my forehead, sometimes on my 
chin, but not in front of my eyes, except when I was obliged to 
look closely. In God’s good time we reached the ‘‘Cumbre,” 
which is the topmost height which can be crossed in the neigh¬ 
bourhood of Aconcagua, and here we remained some time. 

What a majestic sight, what a charming view! We seemed to 
see the whole world at a glance. There we saw the boundary line 
between Chili and Argentine. We had said good-bye to that 
dear country in which we had lodged or sojourned for a month, 
and which, unknown as we were, had proffered us every care and 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

attention. We wanted to enjoy the sea view, but the fog was 
descending, and so we were deprived of that enchanting sight. 
The muleteer made signs to me to mount the mule at once, but 
I begged him to let me enjoy this sublime and inspired moment 
of meditation. A little perturbed, he turned and begged me to 
get into the saddle. The poor man had every reason, for it was 
past eleven, and within half-an-hour’s time the atmosphere of the 
mountains would have proved fatal to us. 

Just about the same time, from the other side of the top of the 
mountain, one of those good employees of the Transandine Com¬ 
pany arrived upon the scene, and, after saluting us courteously, 
told us that he had orders from Santiago to come and meet us, 
and, if possible, to make our journey a little easier. He then took 
my reins and conducted my mule down the steep mountain by 
the shortest paths. The descent was steep and stony. I thought I 
should fall every moment. The mule would slip now and again, 
but this good man encouraged me, and told me we had to keep 
to this path in order to get as soon as possible to a comfortable 
hotel. We reached there at midday, whilst the snow fell heavily 
and the mountain had entirely disappeared in a thick fog. 

The landlady of the hotel received us with a motherly heart and 
placed us at table, where lunch was already prepared and which 
we enjoyed, as it warmed us after the cold we had experienced. 
When lunch was over, they called the heads of the different families 
one after another to write their impressions in a large register 
kept for that purpose. Our companions on the journey had been 
very much upset when they had to cross the crevice, so you may 
imagine what they wrote. I, however, wrote one of my most 
beautiful impressions of that passage. The hotel-keeper and all 
were surprised to see what I wrote, and said I was the first 
person, especially at this dangerous time of the year, who spoke 
well of this crossing, and more so because the writer was not a man. 
The fact is, that I was very pleased and happy to have ascended 
such a high mountain, and, therefore, incidentally have an induce¬ 
ment to excite or incite myself to ascend the heights of holy per¬ 
fection, a mountain much higher than that of the Cordigliera. 

The Celestial Divine Spouse calls His beloved with the sweet 
name of Columba, '‘Una est Columba mea—dilecta mea.” He calls 
her Columba, not only because she should be gentle, meek and 

Panama to Bnenos Aires — October, 1895 


mild, but because she has to fly the heights of the Lord, without 
tiring, rising continually towards Heaven with perfect detachment 
from earth, raising herself on silvery white wings by the purity 
of her affections and intentions. 

About two p.m. the coaches were ready to convey us to the 
station, “Punta de Vaca.’’ We set out up the slopes and down 
the valleys. We travelled along the Mendoza River, by way of 
a path rough and dangerous, owing to the rocks that seemed 
to crush us at every instant, and owing also to the breaks of the 
great river, which looked rather dangerous. 

At seven p.m. we arrived at the Punta de Vaca, where we 
expected to repose quietly, after the shaking we had had on the 
mule and in the coaches, but, an hour before we arrived, the caravan 
from the Argentine, which the next day was to cross the Andes, 
had reached Punta de Vaca and had taken possession of all the 
accommodation. What were we to do? The bell rang to go to 
supper, and we took our places at table with our luggage beside 
us on the floor, not knowing where to place it in safety. When 
the frugal meal was over, I asked the inn-keeper to give us a place 
to rest if possible. He very courteously said he had not received 
any orders regarding us, but that we were not to be alarmed, 
because he would very soon be able to provide us with beds. In the 
meantime, night was advancing, and the only room in the inn was 
full of men drinking. At nine p.m. I again begged the inn-keeper 
to give us a room, and he said he would do so immediately. Half- 
an-hour later he told me all the beds were taken except one in the 
hall, which of course I did not accept. So I turned and sat down at 
the table in the corner of the room with Mother Chiara. 

It was now ten p.m., and the men went on drinking; the alcohol 
was producing its effects, and we heard a lot of movement, shout¬ 
ing and singing. I then began to feel uneasy; but, looking around, 
I saw an American gentleman from San Francisco who had crossed 
the Andes with us and, like us, had been unable to get a bed. I 
prayed him to remain near us, as I feared those men. He was 
the only one amongst that excited crowd who inspired me with 
any confidence. He felt so sorry for us that he induced the inn¬ 
keeper to give us a room in which there were two good ladies and 
a boy, but the boy retired to make room for us. We called down 
hearty blessings on that good man, and fell upon our beds exhausted 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

and motionless till the morning. At seven a.m. we were at the 
station and took train. Still travelling along the Mendoza River, 
we crossed new mountains and valleys, and in the afternoon 
reached Mendoza, the first and nicest city on the way from Chili. 

We were received by the Good Shepherd Sisters, and it was a 
great relief for us to find a safe religious home after such a journey 
and nights of fear and danger. We visited the lovely churches of 
this city and then went to the Jesuits, who encouraged us greatly 
in our mission to Buenos Aires by the news they gave us. They 
told us we should have enough work to do there. We visited the 
Franciscans, who blessed us as Sisters of the Third Order of 
St. Francis. Our next visit was to the Slaves of the Sacred Heart 
of Jesus, a newly-founded Institute in Cordova. The Sisters 
received us with great kindness, and they would have kept us for 
a few days had we not already arranged our journey with the 
Argentine railway company. We were to leave the next night, 
when we would be crossing the Pampas at great speed for two 
days, and with very few stops. 

The Pampas is beautiful! It is an immense plain, where only 
now and then one sees a peasant’s hut, lost, as it were, in the 
immensity of the expanse. We saw horses and mules in great 
numbers, flocks of sheep and goats at pasture in all directions, 
without a guide, in that never-ending country, the boundaries of 
which the owner knows nothing about nor cares to know. Now 
and then we could see skeletons of animals and carcasses not buried, 
left there, abandoned. But the train flew on without minding any¬ 
thing in the midst of the long thick grass of the virgin prairies, 
and on December 1st we arrived at the capital of the Argentine. 
Now I must stop, with the promise to write as soon as I have 
finished my work on this foundation, when I shall return to you 
and then go elsewhere, as obedience ordains. 

Let us live in the meanwhile abandoned to the Will of God. 
I shall work in His vineyard, you helping me with your prayers, 
in which I so much confide. Prayer, confidence and total abandon¬ 
ment in God will always be our sure arms 1 We are good for 
nothing, but in God we can do all things. ‘^Omnia possum in Eo 
qui me confortat.” 

May God bless you and close you in His Adorable Heart, where¬ 
in resides the throne of peace, an anticipated Heaven. Love Jesus 

Panama to Buenos Aires — October, 1895 


much, and think of nothing else. Work with great zeal for the 
glory of God, under the banner of holy Obedience. Do not seek 
rest on this earth, but be ready to die on the battlefield in 
company with Jesus, with the assurance that the more you fight 
the greater will be your crown, a crown that in Eternity no one 
can usurp. 

Such is the wish of 

Yours affectionately, in The Sacred Heart of Jesus, 

Mother Frances Saverio Cabrini. 


(J3ueno6 to d^arceic 

^^ug.udty 1896 


A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

Buenos Aires, 

August 8th, 1896. 

My dear Daughters, 

Jesus be with you, and may His most sweet peace draw you to 
His Adorable Heart, and retain you there by the superabundance 
of His Divine Love. 

How lovely it is to journey under the mantle of Mary Immacu¬ 
late, who is attired in blue and white, and who sheds about her 
rich silver rays! 

It was an hour after mid-day on the 8th of August, when, after 
eight months spent in founding the Academy of Saint Rose, blessed 
so much by the Sacred Heart, I began my return journey to you, 
after two years absence from our dear and beloved Mothef House, 
the centre of our most sublime aspirations, where we imbibed the 
essence of the most beautiful virtues, which should enable us to 
be an example to the world, and so be able to convert it. “You 
are the light of the world, the salt of the earth,’’ Jesus said, 
when from the mountain He spoke to His Apostles. And you. 
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, belong in a certain measure to 
the Apostolic family. Have you not to continue the Apostolate 
of the great Mission of Christ? To you also is entrusted the 
Mission of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. 
How can we accomplish such a difficult and sublime task? It is 
very easy when you have the heavenly protection of the Virgin 
of the Argentine, so revered by the people of Buenos Aires. She 
is dressed in blue and white, with rose-coloured lips, and carries 
an angelic smile, that diffuses silver rays which convince and 
inspire confidence and illuminate without injuring the eyes, despite 


146 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

their brilliancy. She is as white as the snow in her immaculate 
purity; she is heavenly in her grace and demeanour, all celestial 
in her majesty as Queen of Heaven, in her nobleness of mind and 
in the magnanimity of her thoughts. She is silver by reason of 
the rays of light which emanate from the heroic virtues she 
practised, which form a halo around her head and render her face 
shining and majestic. The Areopagite spoke well, when, after the 
Ascension of Our Lord, he pictured Our Lady as a Missionary 
encouraging and consoling the devout faithful: 'Tf I had not known 
there was only one true Lord and God, I should have prostrated 
and adored Holy Mary as a Divinity.’' And the help needed to 
imitate our Holy Mother Mary is to be found in herself, if with 
great faith we place ourselves under her mantle of protection. If 
you find Mary, you find all. ‘Tnventa Maria inveniuntur omnia 
bona, ipsa enim diligit diligentes se, imo sibi servientibus servit.” 

If we venerate so many Saints, and witness so many miraculous 
wonders in souls, all these graces come from that immense source 
of blessings which is Jesus Himself, and through that inexhaustible 
channel of grace which is Mary. Have faith in Mary, endeavour 
with great earnestness to imitate her virtues, because, at every 
moment, this Mother of divine love responds with the words 
the Church puts into her mouth: ‘T give fruit of a pleasing odour, 
my flowers are the fruits of glory and sanctity.” 

Mindi! These words are not intended for you by way of a 
reproach because of the sterility of your works. You, who by 
celestial grace, have been transplanted in the fertile field of the 
Church, and in that glorious garden of the religious life, what 
fruits have you realised? Perhaps leaves only, or some faded 
flowers, which die on the bushes the very day they opened their 
petals? No, daughters, henceforth let there be seen in you true 
devotion to Our Lady, our Mother and Foundress. That devotion 
consists in the imitation of her great virtues. But let us return 
to our journey. 

I carry in my mind imperishable memories of Buenos Aires. 
Having arrived on the 10th of December, after having crossed the 
Pampas from Mendoza to the River de la Plata, I did not know 
where to go, not knowing anyone except Reverend Father Brogi, 
with whom I had become acquainted two years previously when 
he passed through Genoa, having been sent by Reverend Father 

Buenos Aires to Barcelona — August, 1896 


Rinaldi to say Mass at our Convent, the latter having acted as 
Chaplain to us at the beginning of our foundation in Genoa. I 
took a carriage and, with Mother Chiara, went in search of Father 
Brogi, whom we found after a two hours’ journey. He received 
us with every mark of kindness, and, after having given us an 
excellent dinner a I’ltalienne, accompanied us to the Archbishop, 
Monsignor Ladislao Castellano, who received us like a father, and 
was pleased to begin his episcopate with a foundation of the 
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in his new and extensive diocese. 
The Vicar General, Monsignor Espinosa, was present, and encour¬ 
aged me by giving me several visiting cards to present to the 
principal families of the town. I asked him to write something 
in the form of an introduction, but he said, good-heartedly, I 
could write what I liked. Father Brogi then presented me to the 
Secretary General of the Curia, Monsignor Terrero, a very popular 
and estimable person in Buenos Aires. He, also, encouraged us, 
and later acted as our Chaplain. In so doing he came to our aid 
in a great difficulty, as in these parts there is a scarcity of priests. 
There was a great stir in the Episcopal Palace owing to the forth¬ 
coming pilgrimage to the grand Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lujan, 
in honour of the installation of the new Archbishop by the Arch¬ 
bishop of Chili, who had come over purposely, and also in celebra¬ 
tion of peace between the two countries, which had been fighting 
over the boundaries of the two countries. Chili and Argentine. 

Amongst the many persons, priests, etc., at the Episcopal Palace, 
who encouraged and consoled me, the Reverend Father Kierman 
must be mentioned. He was impressed by the great name of 
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart which we bear, and was full of 
compassion at seeing me so forlorn and suffering, as he said. So 
he decided, on the spot, to do all in his power to help me to make 
a good foundation. He helped me to make the acquaintance of 
all at the Palace, and when he perceived I was a little troubled 
and timid, he encouraged me by saying, “Courage, Mother, we 
will help you.” And he kept his word and helped us in every 
way and in every difficulty, and never left us until he saw the 
foundation progressing and on a secure footing. Father Kierman 
is a beautiful soul, and to great knowledge he adds an admirable 
simplicity. He seems to have adapted to himself Our Lord’s own 
words, “Be as simple as the dove and as wise as the serpent.” 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

How beautiful it is to see souls who, like doves, fly over the earth, 
shedding over it their benign influence without being caught in the 
snares of the world. They fly, as it were, with always fresh zest, 
anxious to do good even when physical strength is wanting. They 
fly without tiring, or, rather, without being conscious of fatigue, 
until their works are surrounded by a halo of light, while their 
beneficent influence is always of great good because they are blessed 
by God. Having finished business at the Curia, Reverend Father 
Brogi took me to a very good Italian family, at whose house I 
passed the night, and the next day we took up residence at the 
Convent of the Sisters of Mercy, Savonese, which had been estab¬ 
lished in the Argentine twenty years previously. Father Brogi, in 
his great charity and nobility of heart, gave me all the necessary 
help to commence the foundation, and came every day to present 
me to the principal families, and to assist me in getting to know all 
the parishes of Buenos Aires. This going about was a great help 
to me, because it enabled me to find out which were the best 
localities for a new foundation. 

After having gained some knowledge of the city, and after 
visiting about sixty houses, I decided to take one in the central 
part of the town, and, as it pleased the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 
I found a very nice house, spacious and well lighted. It was even 
better than it seemed to be. Strange to say, many of the ladies 
had tried to dissuade me from taking it, as it was rather dear, 
saying that for the first two years we should have only six or 
seven pupils—not more until the people began to have confidence 
in us—but I felt a secret inspiration which I could not account for, 
and so I decided to take the house at any price. The courage thus 
shown in undertaking a difficult enterprise made a good impression 
on the people, so much so, that the principal families brought us 
their children, and this went on so well, that, when we left, the 
Academy was already full and I had to arrange for a second and 
larger house. When everything had been arranged with the land¬ 
lord, I thought of going into the house at once, and arranged to 
open it on a day that would make the opening memorable, viz., 
Christmas Day. The good Sisters of Mercy did everything they 
could to prevent my leaving them on such a solemn day, but I 
was determined to go, and so, at ten a,m., December 2Sth, Mother 
Chiara and I went to our new home. Thus the real Founder 

Buenos Aires to Barcelona — August, 1896 


of the first House of our Institute in the Argentine was the Infant 
Jesus, in Whom I placed all my confidence and to Whom I fully 
abandoned myself, hoping that He would overcome all my diffi¬ 
culties, in His tender mercy and immense goodness of Heart. 
And the Holy Child knew well how to do it, and wonderfully so. 
On the eve of the opening of the House, I sent two telegrams, one 
to Codogno and the other to New York, calling several Sisters 
who were ready and anxious to assist in the work of the new 
foundation. They set out at once, and within a month the Sisters 
had arrived from New York, while a little later the other Sisters 
reached us from Italy. Mother Chiara and I awaited them with 
the greatest anxiety, for, being only two in number, we could not 
keep the House going by ourselves, as the requirements of the 
House increased every day owing to the clients whom the Dear 
Founder had won for this new foundation. 

On March 1st the College was opened, and since then the number 
of pupils has so exceeded all expectations that I had to send 
another telegram calling for more Sisters, as enthusiastic as the 
others, and in a short time they were with us. Early in May our 
children, so intelligent, were ready to appear before the public. 
So we decided to have a solemn inauguration of the College. 
According to the custom of the country, a committee of eight 
ladies had to be chosen as promoters. They are members of the 
principal families, and chosen amongst the best. The first one 
selected becomes the Godmother of the School. On this occasion 
it was Mrs. Uriburo, the wife of the President of the Republic. 

Mr. Buoje, Mayor of Buenos Aires, sent the gardeners of the 
public gardens to adorn the House with flowers and boughs. The 
Superintendent of the Catholic Club sent men to adorn the chapel 
and parlours with curtains, carpets and fringes, etc. At eight a.m. 
the next day, the chapel and parlours were full of people awaiting 
the arrival of the Archbishop, Monsignor L. Castellano, who cele¬ 
brated Holy Mass, the solemnity of the occasion being enhanced 
by the devotional strains of an orchestra. As soon as the Mass 
was over. Monsignor Espinosa delivered the opening allocution, 
in which he spoke of our Institute as if he had always known it. 
Such is his good-heartedness. After lunch, the Archbishop re¬ 
turned with many other priests and members of the principal 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

families. The formal opening was made conspicuous by the 
presence of the Archbishop, Mrs. Uriburo (the President’s wife) 
and representatives of the several school authorities. The children 
gave an entertainment partly musical and partly recitative, the 
event ending in a great chorus and a tableau, in which the Sacred 
Heart was represented blessing the New Foundation, and placing 
a new diamond in Saint Rose’s crown typical of the new School. 
The whole function was so pleasing to everybody that a photo¬ 
graph had to be taken. It makes an excellent picture, and I shall 
bring the photograph to the Mother House. In Buenos Aires 
this photograph carries the imprint, 'The Paradise.” 

Before beginning the ceremony in the morning, the Archbishop 
blessed the Altar, which is very artistic and made in the form of 
a temple. It was presented to us by the Rector of Saint Michael’s, 
Father John Deleye, a very pious and generous priest, who does 
much good, and who himself possesses and loves solid virtue. 
He is just one of those souls who lives to do good, and who helps 
to constitute the real happiness of a country. He saw us at the 
very commencement, when I was alone with Mother Chiara, and 
when the House was like a great vase without a single ornament. 
He immediately sent us two candlesticks and a beautiful lamp for 
the statue of the Sacred Heart, which Maria Brandon, a very 
good lady, had given us. She helped us a great deal in the 
beginning, and accompanied us in all our visits to the people of 
the town. The statue of the Sacred Heart was the first to arrive 
in the House, and I thought I should have gone into ecstasy the 
first night I was able to recollect myself before that beautiful 
image, that seemed to speak and say to me, "My dear daughter, 
be quiet, live trustingly, put no limit to your faith; I shall see to 
this House through the intercession of my beloved Rosa.” How 
good, dear, and amiable is the Sacred Heart! One glance alone, 
one word only, falls deeply into the heart, revives and reassures. 

We named the College after Saint Rose, according to the promise 
I made when I had the pleasure of visiting the relics of the Saint 
in Lima. The Saint kept her word. She blessed our voyage, our 
arrival in Buenos Aires, and the foundation, and she still continues 
to bless the School, for which reason I leave it without any anxiety. 
Everyone is pleased at the name of Saint Rose being given to the 
School, as she is Patron of the Republics of South America. I 

Buenos Aires to Barcelona — August, 1896 


should love very much to be able to perpetuate this lovely title, 
or the new foundation itself, by building a beautiful sanctuary in 
her honour. I would do it at once if I were able to find a soul so 
good and generous as to give me the means with which to do it. 
Not knowing where such a kind person is to be found, I shall 
engage the Wonder-worker herself to find a benefactor and bring 
him or her to me. 

Whilst I have been telling you about the new foundation, we 
have already done a good part of our journey. We have reached 
Montevideo, where the steamer stopped, and I, with my little 
Angel companion, got into the Captain's tender to go ashore under 
the guidance of a kind gentleman to whom the Captain had 
recommended us, and who took care of us and showed us the 
way to the Cathedral. In a very short time we found God's 
House, where we were able to receive Holy Communion, which 
will satisfy us on our voyage at least as far as Las Palmes in the 
Canary Islands, where we hope again to receive the Living God 
of the Altar, Jesus Christ, our Love, so that He may fortify and 
comfort us for the rest of our voyage. 

At Montevideo we were also able to hear Mass, and thus comply 
with the Sunday precept. We assisted also at the Pontifical Mass 
which was celebrated to implore the glorification of the Venerable 
Gianelli, Founder of the Sisters ‘'dell 'Orto," and Bishop of Bobbio. 
We then visited the city for a little while, which is well worth 
seeing. There are beautiful roads, spacious squares, sumptuous 
monuments and splendid gardens. All its features gain much 
from the fact that the city is built on a hill almost surrounded by 
the sea on either side. It presents an enchanting view, combined 
with excellent climate. 

It is a rather large place, but not too thickly populated. The 
commerce is not great, as the city is near Buenos Aires, which 
monopolises everything on account of the immense progress made 
there every day. 

Montevideo is lovely, and we like it because it is laid out in 
European style; but Buenos Aires is beautiful and large, and if, 
to-day, it is not in accord with our taste, the reason is only because 
in its vastness it is a mixture of good and bad. For instance, you 
may walk about ten “cuadre," which would be about a kilometre, 
and you imagine you see before you the beautiful palaces of Paris, 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

when immediately following, for about twenty blocks, or two 
kilometres, you see nothing but small dwellings of one storey 
high, so small that they seem buried in the earth. After another 
long journey, one finds beautiful, sumptuous palaces, the Recoleta 
and, more especially, the Street Alvear, which are really charming. 
Your wonder increases when you visit the Palermo Walk and 
public gardens that can rank with the best of their kind in Europe 
for their extraordinary pitch of cultivation and magnificent con¬ 
servatories, as well as for the cultivation of the trees and the 
zoological enclosures. The city of Buenos Aires is only ten years 
old, but if it advances at the present rate for another ten or twenty 
years, it will rival New York, provided that civil disturbances 
do not arise and ruin it. Of this, unfortunately, there is always 
danger, as the inhabitants are good but of a turbulent disposition. 
Recently there was danger of war with Chili over the boundary 
question. Buenos Aires clings to her rights, but Chili desires 
to appropriate a little more territory, because her boundaries 
are so narrow. Lately they agreed, the Argentines having ceded 
a part of their land near Tierra del Fuego. The two Arch¬ 
bishops contributed greatly by their influence and kindly offices 
in obtaining this concession, viz.. His Grace, Monsignor Casanova 
of Chili, and the new Archbishop of Buenos Aires. On my arrival 
at Buenos Aires, both Prelates made a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary 
of the Blessed Virgin of Lujan, in company with General Rocca, 
President of the Interior, who was acting for President Uriburo, 
who, owing to illness, was absent. There were present several high 
officials and an immense population. The eloquent Monsignor 
Kara, Vicar Apostolic of Valparaiso, gave a magnificent address, 
in the course of which he was continually applauded by the two 
representatives of the Republic and all the people present. Finally, 
after having spoken of the privileges of the Blessed Virgin, and of 
the great miracles worked at Lujan, and after having said that 
Chili could give nothing worthy of the Blessed Virgin, as she was 
already covered with gold from head to foot, he thought the best 
gift they could leave in the Sanctuary would be the Flag of Chili, 
which would remain as a sign of peaceful accord with their sister 
Republic. This was answered by a frenzied cheer from the immense 
crowd. It made a peculiar impression upon us to see this renowned 
Sanctuary reduced, as it were, to a theatre. But I quickly coun- 

Buenos Aires to Barcelona — August, 1896 


tenanced this kind of irreverence, as it seemed to me, in God’s 
Church, when I remembered that these countries had only recently 
been civilized through our Holy Religion, and that the faith of the 
people, at least, was good, for it leads the rulers to decide the 
destinies of the people in God’s own Sanctuary and to invoke the 
blessing of God and Our Lady. Mother Chiara and I also went 
to the pilgrimage, for as soon as we arrived at the Curia, the 
priests, who surrounded us with every attention, gave us first- 
class tickets so that we might take part in their great festival. 
I accepted the tickets with great pleasure, and as the nation prayed 
for peace, I, too, raised my voice in union with theirs. I con¬ 
sidered the country as my own from the first moment of my entry 
into it. But, in the midst of this country’s great exaltation, I 
collected my thoughts and prayed Our Lady to bless our new 
foundation, promising if she did so and all went well, that I would 
return to thank her before leaving Buenos Aires. Everything 
succeeded beyond all expectation. So, a week before I left, I 
returned with comfort and consolation to this Sanctuary, for 
whilst I confided to the Holy Mother of God the care of the House, 
I felt that this powerful and miraculous Mother had assured me 
of her continual protection. Of her love and her protection I 
had another proof, as did also the Sisters who accompanied 
me to offer their vows and thanksgivings to this Mother of 

We had no sooner left Buenos Aires, than a shaft of most 
luminous rays, the brightness of which outshone those of the 
sun, shot forth from the heavens and descended and encompassed 
us during the rest of the journey until we reached the Sanctuary, 
where the wonderful Virgin of Lujan dispenses her ineffable 
treasures of grace and blessings. This was a sign from Our Lady 
to show us how visibly we enjoy Her special protection. 

Oh, how good and amiable is Mary! She is a propitious Morning 
Star; she is the inspiring guide of all our enterprises, and for 
this reason the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart should fear 
nothing. Our great Mother and Foundress is near God, even 
united with God. Hence, she can do all, wish all, obtain all from 
God. Oh, the greatness of Mary! She has been constituted the 
fount of all graces, the sure channel of Divine mercy, the ladder 
to Heaven, the gate of Paradise. Mary, O children, is that mystical 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

holy mountain, that mountain adorned by the Holy Ghost, that 
mountain from the summit of which springs the source of the 
clearest water, dividing itself into infinite streams which water 
the whole world. Therefore, our Houses, our works, are absolutely 
secure in the hands of Mary, as long as we show her faith, invoke 
her and imitate her virtues, as true Missionaries should do. If 
you desire to convert the whole world, invoke Mary, for she is 
that bright cloud, as seen by the prophet Elias, rising from the 
sea, gradually spreading over the whole heavens, and then breaking 
into rainfalls on every part of the earth, so that it covers even the 
remotest inhabitants of the globe. Yes, you can do everything 
with Mary. She extirpates heresy, eradicates schisms and destroys 
idols. She causes our Holy Faith to triumph everywhere, and 
increases and spreads the Fold of Christ which her mystic waters 
irrigate and fructify. Confide everything to her, then; do every¬ 
thing under her auspices, and do not leave her for one moment. 
Invoke her always, and she will cleanse your hearts and make 
them worthy of your high vocation. 

In the meantime our journey continues pleasant. It*s wonder¬ 
ful; we hardly notice the movement of the boat, the sea being 
so placid and tranquil. I cannot write much, as the passengers 
are so good and don't leave us for a moment. Sometimes, 
with the little angel, the postulant who accorripanies me, I am able 
to withdraw to some quiet corner to pray, but we never have time 
to finish the Rosary before we have a crowd around us. We 
cannot find a place in which to hide ourselves. You will have 
patience with me, then, if you find this epistle is short. I have 
become a Professor of Modern Languages, for I am giving a lesson 
a day to the President's sister-in-law, Mrs. Tezanos Pinto de 
Craseres, who is anxious to speak Italian well by the time she 
reaches Italy, and especially Rome, where her husband is engaged 
at the Peru Legation. 

At table near the Captain sits a great literary man, a Neapolitan, 
and the conversation naturally falls on History, Literature and 
Science, etc. When the Neopolitan goes beyond the line, I keep 
silent for a moment, and then, with kindness and firmness, I affirm 
the truth. Slowly, without his noticing it, I induce him to approve 
what is right according to the standard of truth, justice and the 
Will of God, and to acknowledge that real happiness is to be found 

Buenos Aires to Barcelona — August, 1896 155 

in good alone, according to the dictates of our Holy Religion. 
One day he asserted that, in order to become converted to better 
things, he would have to suffocate and extinguish the whole 
ardour of his soul and the vehemence of his human passions, and 
so would have to reduce himself to the condition of a mountain of 
ice, indifferent to all things, even the most beautiful and great. I 
pointed out to him that the flames of human passions, which always 
leave a void and a sense of dissolution, become changed into celes¬ 
tial flames through grace, and that the supernatural light of 
Heaven, once let into the soul, grows so wonderfully that the 
human passions become a volcano of Divine Love, a real fire that 
nobody can extinguish as long as goodwill remains in the soul. 

Have we not had the brightest examples in this direction? An 
Augustine, a Magdalen. Did they become mountains of ice after 
their conversion? Quite the contrary. We should never have 
had these prodigies of conversion and marvellous holiness, if they 
had not changed the flames of human passion into volcanoes of 
immense love of God. But the present generation is too miserable 
and unfortunate! It studies, studies everything but religion, and, 
meanwhile, runs with the velocity of a train towards a ruinous 
precipice. Oh, dear Jesus, what terrible ruin I But in Thy mercy 
turn not Thy face away from us. Arise, great Giant of Love, 
arise, O my Beloved 1 Come into the field of the Missions of Thy 
beloved Spouses, who desire to bring into Thy Kingdom every 
human soul. Come! We wait, desire and sigh for Thee. Come, 
refulgent Sun, with Thy bright and vivid rays, that they may 
brighten the earth enveloped in dense darkness! O Jesus, the 
Desired of Ages, Love all on fire for Thy children, hasten and 
give life to those who are sitting in the darkness of death! 
Through Thy Most Holy Heart, heal the gaping, bleeding wounds 
of sick humanity! We, Thy Missionaries, turn our eyes and 
our hearts always towards Thy Divine Heart, and, if Thou 
wiliest, all those confided to our care will be saved. Yes, if Thou 
wish it, it can be done, for Thy very Name indicates salvation, 
grace, unction and love. The more I invoke Thy sweet name, 
the more I find it dear, sweet and amiable. Thou art my life, 
my all, console then her who loves Thee, console Thy poor servant 
and save, yes, save this sick generation, which you have trusted 
to us. Look upon those souls whom Thou hast redeemed with 

Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Thy Precious Blood. Look upon them with love and mercy. 
Wound them with the darts of Thy burning charity, warm and 
transform all, in Thee. 

Having passed the equatorial line, we reached Pinedo de San 
Pedro, which is a rock of considerable size, after a four hour 
journey. It presents a very pretty spectacle with its slender 
points. Seen at sunset, it looks like a pretty sailing city, and my 
companion asked me if there was any likelihood of our going there 
some day to establish a Mission. I asked her if she wanted to 
convert the birds, which are the only created things that find an 
asylum there, but she thought that if ever we went there we should 
find someone to convert. Well, of course, she wants to convert the 
whole world, and, in the fervour of her desire, appears to have the 
faith of Abraham, who merited to see his spiritual children multiply 
like the sands of the sea. 

Between one thing and another, we have reached the Canary 
Islands, stopping at Las Palmas. There is a beautiful gulf, and 
the city presents an enchanting sight. We arrived at six a.m. on 
the 23rd, and, as it was Sunday, we arose at once so as to be able 
to go ashore for Holy Mass and to have the happiness of receiving 
Holy Communion. In fact, the medical inspection on this occasion 
did not detain us long, and Captain Bocacelli, who does everything 
he can for us, gave us sufficient time to satisfy our desires. At 
six-thirty we were descending the gangway, and we took the first 
boat that came. The four priests who were on board, seeing us 
so early astir, took courage and came along in our boat. In about 
ten minutes we reached the shore, and took one of the primitive 
carriages with a small lean horse, so lean that my companion asked 
if it was a donkey, and expressed the fear that it would not be 
able to carry all six of us, especially as the weight of one of the 
Franciscan Fathers was equal to that of three of us. But we 
very soon found that the horse was strong and fast, for it galloped 
off at great speed to the Church of Los Padrecitos, the Servants 
of Mary, which is a very pretty church, where we heard Mass and 
received Holy Communion. We then got into our carriage again, 
and very rapidly completed the whole of the trip, passing en route 
through the market, in order to show off, as it were, our new 
carriage. We visited the Lazarist Fathers, who opened a House 
here three years ago. One of the priests with us was a Lazarist. 

Buenos Aires to Barcelona — August, 1896 


They received us with great kindness, and at breal^fast gave us 
the first grapes of this year, 1896. It was a pleasant surprise to 
us, because when we left Buenos Aires it was quite winter. We 
visited the Cathedral, the architecture of which we greatly admired 
as well as its riches, for the country is comparatively poor. The 
altar is noteworthy for its table of finest silver and lamp of great 
value. These inhabitants are very fortunate, indeed, for in their 
midst religion triumphs. Having paid all our visits, we returned 
to the boat and were conveyed to the steamer. It had been 
amusing to note the ingenuity of my companion. As soon as 
she arose in the morning, she asked me what the mounds of 
earth were, and wondered how they could remain straight without 
falling down. She wanted to know the cause of the different 
colours, why the houses were built on the tops of the mountains, 
and averred she would never ascend to visit these houses. You 
may imagine her bewilderment when the horse conveyed us to 
one of these small houses situated at such a height. As we jour¬ 
neyed along a mountain near the port, she saw a stretch of yellow 
sand very smooth and flat, like a piece of beautiful material, and 
could not help wishing to carry some of it away with her as a re¬ 
membrance of the country. 

Going ashore did not do us much good; rather it did harm to 
everyone, because for a few days we felt as if we had just put out 
to sea. We saluted Cape Moro and Morocco, and then turned 
towards Gibraltar to admire that enchanting rock. This could 
easily be done, as the Captain steered the ship as close as possible 
in order to give us an opportunity of seeing everything and of 
photographing the scene. Here the steamer did not stop, but 
continued sailing quite near land, and we enjoyed for a whole day 
the most beautiful and charming views. We could see all the 
towns lying along the coast of Spain, with its gulfs, bays, mountains, 
chains, etc., and as there were passengers on board who knew 
Spain, they explained all that was of importance. They enjoyed 
my being so interested in everything, little realizing, perhaps, that 
for me everything was important, as my thoughts spread over all 
Spain, for I desire to open a House in that country, not only to 
do good, but to obtain religious vocations among the Spanish, 
which would help the work in Spanish-America. Now and again 
I turn my thoughts towards the West Coast of Africa and Morocco, 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

for I have aspirations to go there also. I should love to fly and 
save the souls there, but this cannot be done during my lifetime, as 
there is too much to be done in the Americas. May God bless us 
and help us to spread our work, and thus save a great number of 
these good peoples, our brethren. In the meantime, let us help with 
our prayers. Prayer is the greatest relief at all times, especially 
when an amount of work has to be undertaken and when I see 
that things are impossible owing to our limited means. 

Prayer is powerful! It fills the earth with mercy, it makes the 
Divine clemency pass from generation to generation; right along 
the course of the centuries wonderful works have been achieved 
through prayer. We are the dust of the earth, and our days are 
like the grass. Man is here on a pilgrimage, and shortly will be 
no more, but the mercy and clemency obtained through the power 
of prayer will always produce in people generous and salutary 

Now we are at Barcelona, and again this time the Captain gave 
us sufficient time to go ashore to receive Holy Communion. May 
it please God to bless the piety of this rare and singular Captain! 
I have been very fortunate in enjoying the kindest of attentions 
in all my voyages, but the insight and tact of Captain Bocacelli, 
who discovers in my aspirations that which acts as the hinge on 
which all other inspirations turn and which gives value to the 
others, is beyond expression. This time he sent us in his own 
boat; by seven a.m. we had reached the Cathedral to go to 
confession and Holy Communion, rendered more fervent by the 
inspiring devotion of many ladies who were in the sacred edifice. 
When our devotions had ended, an excellent Genoese gentle¬ 
man, Di Ovada, knowing how we desired to see Barcelona, asked 
us if we would allow him to accompany us on a visit to the 
town. Knowing his marked respectability, I accepted the invita¬ 
tion. He first took us to breakfast, and then conducted us in a 
comfortable carriage to the public gardens and various churches. 
The beauty of the principal places of this city does not yield one 
jot to that of Paris. Barcelona is a trading city which in a few 
years has grown twice its original size. It is more of a cosmopolitan 
town than an ordinary Spanish city, for it includes in its population 
representatives of almost every race on the globe. But the progress 
achieved has brought one of the worst possible misfortunes on the 

Buenos Aires to Barcelona — August, 1896 


town, i.e., that of evil living and irreligion. Therefore, we must 
open a House here in the course of time which will become a beau¬ 
tiful Mission and will do much good. 

So, now, up and multiply your numbers and increase in virtue, 
for the harvest is great and too much for your small number. 
Make others follow your good example, so that I may be able 
to summon up courage to do a great deal of good for these 
souls, who will soon be lost if we do not hasten to their aid. 

In the meantime, make use of prayer, work with prayer. Have 
confidence in our Beloved Jesus, and always abandon yourselves 
to His Adorable Sacred Heart, and have hope, ever mistrusting 
yourselves and confiding in Him alone. For however weak and 
insignificant you are, you can surely do great things. ''Omnia 
possum in Eo qui me confortat.” 

Now I must leave you, hoping to see you all ver>' soon and to 
rejoice at your progress in virtue. 

May Jesus bless you and enclose you in His Beautiful Heart, 
wherein always I meet you. 

Affectionately in Jesus Christ, 

Mother Frances Saverio Cabrini. 

August 27th, 1896. 


<=Iliuei'pooi to ^ew 

Iflouemljer, 1898 

A. M. G. SS. C. J. 


November Sth, 1898. 

My dear Daughters, 

May the beautiful Heart of Jesus, our Hope and only Love, 
our Life and our All, shower upon us that light of truth, that fire 
of love, that have come to inflame the hearts of men. 

Love us, Jesus, with Your sweet chains. 

Of that pure love we fain would claim; 

Our wings to Heaven we open wide. 

To leave low earth, and there abide. 

This is the seventh time that I leave Europe to go to the Missions 
of America. Yielding to a secret inspiration of the soul, I visited 
this country—England—that was once the Isle of Saints, and 
which, through the passions and pride of its king, lost the faith. 

I was comforted by the blessing of the Holy Father, who at 
the end of July gave me an audience and encouraged me, with 
benignity, to go all over the world and carry the Most Holy Name 
of Jesus everywhere, thus to draw souls into the bosom of the 
Church, where alone there is salvation. With fatherly goodness 
he inquired about my programme, and noticing my poor health, 
he asked how I could undertake so much work. 'T, who am so 
strong, could not do it,'' he said. ‘Tt is true I am old, but I am 
much stronger than you." The affability with which he deigned 
to speak to me, encouraged me to remark that, as I was his 
spiritual daughter, I possessed his moral strength which enabled 
me to go round the world, and I was sure I should not lose my 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

strength by serving that dear Jesus Who chose me to be a Mis¬ 
sionary of His Sacred Heart. Then, putting his two hands on 
my head, he showered blessings upon me, telling me to pray, for 
him, as his heart was overwhelmed with sorrow on account of the 
revolutions prevalent in many countries. 

Then the Supreme Pastor, that Father of souls, not wishing to 
leave his little Missionary unconsoled, gave me a generous offering 
for my voyage, together with presents for those who helped the 
Missions most. He said many other nice things, but I must leave 
these to the Mother Superior of the Plouse in Rome, who was 
with me on the occasion of that memorable audience. All I can 
say is, that with the blessing of the Holy Father I can go all over 
the world and no fear shall overcome me, no matter how difficult 
the way, and no matter how many the obstacles which may come 
before me, whether from spiritual or temporal enemies. The Pope 
has spoken, God has spoken through him. I shall go everywhere 
without fear. Oh! how powerful is the blessing of the Pope! 
He is the visible head of the Church on earth, he is God’s repre¬ 
sentative, the oracle of the Most Holy Trinity, the instrument of 
the Holy Ghost, the trumpet of the Redeemer, the mouthpiece 
and word of Our Lord Himself. The Pope is the shining light¬ 
house of Divine Wisdom, and so his words and his blessings are 
that true column of fire that guides me in every danger and every 
difficulty. Do pray, daughters, pray for the Holy Father, pray 
for the Ruler of Church’s destiny, pray for him in these difficult 
times. We must do so, as we are under obligations of filial 
gratitude to Leo XIIL, who loves and favours our beloved 
Institute as if it were his own beloved family. Speak, children, 
to everybody concerning the Pope. Make them unite themselves 
with him, for he who is united closely with the Pope, however 
far he may have strayed from the right path, returns to God’s 
ways in the end. 

The Holy Father wishes our Institute to be prolific of Saints, 
as he said to the Sisters whom I presented to him after my audience. 
We are under an obligation to comply with the desires of this holy 
old man. I imagine I hear, however, someone asking how they can 
become Saints? Oh, daughters, do not fear difficulties; it will 
suffice if we follow our holy vocation faithfully. That sweet and 
most loving Jesus, Who has called us to follow Plim, gathering us 

Liverpool to New York — November^ 1898 163 

to His Divine Heart, helps us every day on our journey. It is He 
Himself, the good Jesus, Who has called us to follow closely in 
His footsteps, through the observance of the Evangelical Counsels, 
so that we may be holy and perfect, like unto Him. That dear 
Redeemer has marked us with the sign of predilection, taking us 
from the darkness of the world. He has introduced us into the 
House of His Divine Heart and surrounded us with His admirable 
light. As long as we remain faithful to our vocation, Jesus will 
always be in the midst of us, inflaming our hearts with Divine 
Love. He will try our faith and our love sometimes, by allowing 
us to be tempted and tried, but, if we are faithful to our vows, 
and if, trustingly, we invoke Him, not forgetting that the Fount 
of every good is in our midst. He will soon console us and leave 
us flooded with His light and celestial joy. He will always be 
with us in the time of our trials. He will walk by our side and help 
us out of all difficulties. He Himself has called us to follow Him 
closely, and has promised to help us; surely. He will keep His 
word. We may have to suffer a long time on the road to the 
Mount of Perfection, but we should not be frightened, for, what 
does she, who ignores Christian suffering, know of what is grand 
and wonderful? The science of suffering is the science of the 
Saints. Let us rejoice when an unexpected cross visits us, when a 
sorrow afflicts us, because these are the precious fruits of the 
mystical vine, destined to produce inestimable merits unto Eternity. 
Then, when you have suffered, dear daughters, do not go round 
sighing, as one who knows not the privilege of the Cross, but 
raise your eyes and smile sweetly at suffering, which is like a 
beautiful country white for the harvest. She who knows how to 
gather copious sheaves will receive a large reward. Learn how 
to unite your sufferings sweetly with those of Jesus Christ, and, 
then, your sufferings endured for Jesus and for His Adorable 
Heart, will be as so many drops immersed in the immense ocean 
of the Most Holy Passion of Jesus Christ. In like manner, our 
trials and our sorrows offered up with those of our most loving 
Jesus, will be not only sanctified but made Divine and worthy of 
Eternal glory. In suffering for Jesus we partake of His sufferings 
and riches, so that, during our earthly pilgrimage, grace will never 
be wanting, either to ourselves particularly or to the works of our 
mission—the salvation of souls. Be wise, then, dear daughters, 

164 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

and do not squander your sufferings, but submit to them without 
murmuring and with supernatural motives, remembering that in 
every sorrow a wonderfully secret work of grace is revolving 
within the wheels of our predestination. 

November 6th. I begin again to-day my correspondence with 
you, after having passed a quiet night, so quiet, indeed, that one 
hardly realized one was at sea. So much was this the case, that 
dear Sister Frances, who is with me, was astonished, seeing that 
she was prepared to suffer any amount of sea-sickness and all 
the other inconveniences which occur during this season of the 
year. We have reached Queenstown after sixteen hours naviga¬ 
tion. It is Sunday, and we should like to go ashore and hear 
Mass and receive Holy Communion, but the steamer only makes 
a stay of half-an-hour to collect the mails. So we have to resign 
ourselves and send our aspirations to the Solitary of Love, Who 
is in the Blessed Sacrament, in the devotional churches of this 
beautiful Irish city, where He receives the homage and reverence 
and the warm love of the Irish people, still animated with that 
lively faith which was implanted in them by that great Missionary, 
the fervent Apostle of Ireland, Saint Patrick. 

But it is necessary to return to the account of my voyage, 
because you wish to know all that takes place en route. I left 
Rome after having finished some very grave business relating to 
the affairs of the Institute which gave me great trouble, and 
which tired me to such an extent that, if the question only affected 
me personally, I should certainly have yielded to the unjust 
demands made upon us. But it was a question of the rights of 
the Institute, and I should have erred greatly had I given way 
owing to my own physical fatigue. However, with the help of 
Jesus, and through the goodness of His most loving Heart, which 
does everything for me, I obtained the victory necessary for the 
Institute, after all the troubles which have already affected it. 
All that happened, however, was with the consent of the Divine 
Goodness, which allows us to be afflicted in order to make us more 
worthy of the singular graces with which He deigns to favour our 
small and beloved Institute, which is not worthy, certainly, of so 
many signal favours. After thanking God, we should also be 
grateful to those persons whom Our Lord thus allowed to trouble 


Liverpool to Nezv York — November, 1898 

us, and to pray from our hearts for them. And since true friends 
are realised in the time of need, I was able to count as such many 
eminent Cardinals, who love with a paternal heart our beloved 
Institute. This was proved by the sacrifices and trouble they 
undertook to defend truth and uphold justice. How they are 
enlightened by the Holy Ghost! Amongst these were the Most 
Eminent Cardinals Parrocchi, Vannutelli, Rampolla, Agliardi, 
Steinhuber, Cretoni, and other Cardinals and Prelates whose 
names would take too long to write. 

The audience of which I have already spoken closed the whole 
affair with great success, and then I went to the Noviciate of 
Codogno, where with one hundred and fifty Sisters I made my 
Annual Retreat lasting ten days. During that time I was able 
to take that spiritual rest which I had been waiting for so long, 
and which was also necessary to recruit my bodily health, which 
had suffered greatly. It might have been said that I should not 
be able to undertake another long journey, which, before its com¬ 
pletion, will have taken me a distance of about sixteen thousand 
miles, not to speak of other obstacles which frequently occur and 
are not always pleasant, though, of course, always acceptable as 
coming from Him Who gives wool in measure as required by the 
cold, and Who even with the ice and the snow conserves the heat 
of the earth, ''Qui dat nivem sicut lanam.’* Though the spirit 
of the Institute and the works of piety it inculcates are sufficient 
to keep us united to God, nevertheless, a spiritual retreat now 
and again is a necessity for our souls which are destined to climb 
the mountain of perfection, as true Spouses of Jesus Christ and 
as Missionaries of His Divine Heart. ^T will lead my beloved into 
the solitude, and there I will speak to her, heart to heart.'* 
Jesus Christ Himself frequently retired alone into the mountains 
and into the quiet Garden of Olives to converse with His Eternal 
Father in the silence of the night. In retirement and solitude we 
are disposed to speak with God confidentially and to beg Him to 
fill us with His grace. It is in Retreat that we learn the multiform 
and precious ways of prayer. It is there we learn to pray, 
whether it be by means of the tongue, good works, or sufferings. 
It is there one acquires the spirit of interior prayer so sublime 
and rich with merits, for it is the interior spirit that raises us up 
at every moment and in every work to God. It is in Retreat that 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

the soul learns to give internal glances at the beauty and goodness 
of God. These glances are like a melodious prayer, pleasing to the 
Divine Heart of the loving Jesus. 

God is a most pure Spirit, and He loves, with a special love and 
very dearly, pure and immaculate hearts, and their loving, simple 
looks please Him. When can we better simplify and purify our 
spirit than during Retreat? The soul learns to love God as He 
should be loved, so worthy of all our love. Then, also, these internal 
aspirations, however short, leave incredible power within, and are 
very profitable to us and give great glory to God. The soul learns 
that there is no necessity to look for her beloved outside her own 
being, and that she can find Him within herself, as on His own 
throne and in His tabernacle. The soul drinks in large draughts 
from that wonderful spring, the Wound of the Sacred Heart of 
Jesus. It is in Retreat that the Missionary learn what is required 
in order to become rich for eternity, and acquires at the same 
time a loving and continual purity of intention. Oh, how precious 
it is! The most vigilant in this exercise of the inner life have 
the richest graces in this life and the greatest glory in the next. 
Yes, my children, God is the beginning, the centre and the end 
of all our daily actions, and whilst as Missionaries of His Divine 
Heart we give great and continual glory to God, we also acquire 
for ourselves at every moment immense treasures of grace. 
Whether we work, eat, teach or sleep, or voyage, let us do all in 
the name of Jesus and in that of His Divine Heart. 

Remember always, and impress it also on all you have to 
instruct, that purity of intention in our actions is the life and 
the value of the same, and is the way to open up the inexhaustible 
mine of the incalculable good which we shall find written in the 
Book of Life. 

It is in Retreat that we learn to humble ourselves and to earn 
the precious gem of humility. If we become careless and ignorant 
in our spiritual life, we think ourselves better than we are. But, 
in solitude we are enabled to understand well what the Beloved 
Disciple meant when he admonishes us and says, “If*we say we 
have no faults, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 
Our misery is indeed great. Ignorance, blindness of intellect, 
pride of mind and heart, inclination to vice, repugnance to virtue, 
readiness for evil, and sloth in doing good—all of these are a 

Liverpool to Nezv York — November, 1898 


sufficient motive for humbling ourselves in the most pure presence 
of God, and confessing that we are truly dust and ashes: nothing 
in fine. Let us weigh carefully, dear children, what a great mis¬ 
fortune it is not to have humility, for the lack of this precious 
pearl places a wall of bronze between us and God. If we are not 
humble, we shall derive no advantage from the ways that lead to 
humility, for whatever may be our fault against humility, though 
it appears small, it does us a great injury, for faults against 
humility are severely punished by God. Be, therefore, watchful, 
children, and guard that precious and holy humility, for none of 
the lovely works of piety prescribed by the Holy Institute can be 
carried out without humility, and your many and good prayers 
will not be helpful to you without a humble heart. We must 
pray much to obtain this great and precious gift of humility, for 
we must be humble if we want to be heard. Mary, our tender 
Mother, teaches us this by her example, because if God loved her 
for her virginity, He loved her more on account of her humility, 
as Saint Bernard affirms. Many often complain of not being 
heard, though they pray much, but, if they become humble, as 
Jesus desires, and practise humility, then they will be heard 
quickly, for the key which opens the celestial treasures is humility. 
Let us please God, children, and give glory to Him. Let us 
console the Adorable Heart of Jesus by becoming truly humble. 
Let us practise always and in every event great simplicity and 
humility, which is the glorious chain which unites us with God. 
No, you cannot stand without Jesus; He is for you a blessed 
necessity. The soul yearns for its Creator, its Centre, its Beginning, 
its Beloved. Remove, then, any impediment produced by the 
want of humility, and then nothing will hinder you. Your wings 
will be free, and you will fly with all the vehemence and ardour 
of which the soul is capable unto your Treasure, Who will allow 
you to taste an anticipated Heaven which is the sure noviciate of 
eternal life. The peace and joy which God infuses into the 
humble soul exceed all understanding. Therefore, how much you 
should treasure the holy Annual Retreat, the Monthly and even 
the very short Weekly Retreat, when you retire to read over again 
the lights and resolutions which bring great advantages to you. 
But I must tell you that besides coming out of the Retreat feeling 
very well as to personal advancement, I had also the pleasure of 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

seeing the Sisters also much better and much more enriched with 
precious gifts from their loving Spouse, Who, pleased with the 
fragrant odour of their holy resolutions, seemed to surround them 
with a beautiful white cloud, with a shadow of His Holy Humanity, 
so much so, that I thought I was with heavenly creatures instead 
of with poor earthly pilgrims. Being assured, therefore, that the 
Divine Blessing would always accompany them to whatever House 
they were destined, I left Italy without anxiety and very tran¬ 

On the 25th August I left Codogno, and on the 26th August I 
left Milan for Turin. There I thought I should be able to get the 
tickets cheaper from the Mediterranean Line Company through 
the recommendation of His Eminence, Cardinal Ferrata, who was 
anxious to help us in our Mission work, but the excellent Rector, 
Monsignor Vigo, of the Church of St. Julia, met us with a rather 
jubilant air, saying the tickets could not be had and that I should 
have to stop at his house. We had the great pleasure of meeting 
Monsignor Radini Tedeschi, who was engaged in the final stages 
of his work of organizing the celebrated pilgrimage to Our Lady 
of Lourdes, and so we were able to take some part in the homage 
and devotion to Our Lady by preparing the books with the names 
of those who were to act as leaders of the pilgrimage, and who so 
energetically co-operated with that great client of Mary Immaculate, 
Monsignor Radini Tedeschi, who is well known for his great 
faith, irreproachable life and singular attachment to the Holy 
Father and to the Holy See. Our tickets arrived the same day 
that the pilgrimage set forth, and so we took train to Paris, 
accompanied by the blessing of the Archbishop of Turin, who 
gave us and our voyage his blessing, after he had already 
blessed the pilgrimage. Monsignor Vigo, not satisfied with lodging 
us for three days, continued his kindness by giving us a hamper 
of good things and by accompanying us to the station. La 
Signorina Jaggi, sister of our dear Sister Maurizia, remained in 
our company these few days, and then accompanied us to the 
frontier, in company with Sister Maurizia and the Reverend Mother 
of the House of Codogno, in order to help us to get through the 
Customs. Signorina Carolina Jaggi is a beautiful soul, and would 
do anything in her power to relieve us of any trouble, and, more 
so, because she is soon to become a member of the Institute. 

Liverpool to New York — November, 1898 


On the 20th August we arrived in Paris, where a very generous 
and great personage awaited us. It was Monsignor Chapelle, Arch¬ 
bishop of New Orleans, who, forgetting his own dignity and merits, 
deigned to come to meet us at the station, and then conducted us 
to the house in which he was staying, and thence to the Sisters of 
Sion, whose hospitality he had procured for us during the time we 
were to remain in Paris. At the same time we visited Madame de 
Mier, who offered us her house, as she thought it would please 
her younger sister, who is finishing her studies with us. We could 
not refuse such an offer, especially as, this lady being very ill, our 
refusal might have given her pain. So we accepted it, and for a 
month her house was like a Convent. Everything was at our dis¬ 
posal, parlour, dining-room, servants. Great silence was observed, 
for the lady was very ill, and only left her room to come to 
table, not to eat, but to keep us company and to see that we had 
everything necessary. She, in fact, studied how to make each day 
more pleasant for us. 

But whilst I am writing to you of Paris, The Umbria, the 
Cunard vessel on which we are travelling, is making great head¬ 
way, and seems to be almost flying. The weather is beautiful, 
the sea very calm, and the wind favourable. We might expect 
such lovely weather in the months of August and September, but 
not at this time of the year. So everybody is naturally surprised 
at seeing what a favourable crossing we are having. Occasionally 
the waves swell up. Then suddenly, as if by magic, clouds of 
mist are formed that obscure for the moment the rays of the sun, 
which dissolve at one time into very fine rain, and at another into 
enormous drops. Thus the salt water, coming into contact with 
the fresh rain water, becomes calm and composed, so much so 
that we do not seem to move. I sometimes shut myself up in 
my cabin and sometimes remain on deck, and so am able to write 
with little trouble the sort of diary you asked for. Sister Frances 
is well and accompanies me everywhere. At the table she orders 
what I can take, which I myself certainly could not do, as I do not 
know the names of English foods, just as I also do not know those 
of our own country, accustomed as I am to take what is placed 
before me. Sister Frances is a very good travelling companion. 
She is always in good humour, and though simple as a dove, is 
not by any means ignorant, but, withal, prudent and cautious. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

She is very quick in managing things, and studies in every way 
to spare me trouble, performing everything openly and with great 
charity. She has many good qualities and that spirit which at 
all times ought to distinguish a true Missionary. She is kind to 
everyone, affable but not affected, and so leaves everyone edified. 
The world has no place in her heart, nor does it leave on her any 
impression that might damp that fervent love which draws her 
near to her dear Jesus. As you know, she does not speak Italian 
well, but she does her best to make me understand what she 
wants to say by turning the words this way and that. The other 
day, for instance, she wanted to say '‘cauliflower’' in Italian, 
which is "cavol-fiore,” but her rendering made it “fiore-cavalli,” 
"horses’ flowers.” By expressing herself in this roundabout way 
she was doubly charitable, for she gave me the opportunity of a 
good hearty laugh. 

How admirable is God in His works! He finds followers every¬ 
where, and in the midst of a country where Protestantism reigns. 
He, through the goodness of His Heart, forms beautiful and gen¬ 
erous souls who serve Him with great fidelity. There was a time 
when Our Lord went through the streets of Jerusalem drawing 
souls to Himself by His Divine looks; but, to-day, it is by His 
spirit and His loving Heart that He draws souls to His following 
and inflames them. My Jesus, how good Thou art! I shall never 
cease to speak of Thee and Thy Divine Heart! I shall never tire of 
proclaiming Thy praises, so that Thou risest every day like a bright 
and ardent lamp and run as a Giant in every country, enlightening 
souls, warming up hearts, drawing them into the fold of Thy 
Church and helping them to follow Thee more closely. Pray, 
dear daughters, pray much for the conversion of England. It 
breaks one’s heart that this country does not possess the true 
Faith. England has all the qualities that make it worthy to be 
a portion of Christ’s fold. Her only fault is that of having but 
half of the Faith, and no longer being allied with the only Head 
which forms the perfect union of the Church with Christ. Our 
Lord Himself said so: "He who does not enter by the door of 
the fold shall not have salvation.” The door of the fold is the 
Catholic Church and union with the Head who represents Jesus 
Christ. It is faith in Christ, a pure, simple faith, not half a faith, 
but entire faith, that faith which embraces in its universality the 

Liverpool to Nezv York — November^ 1898 


revealed Word of God, which is necessary to enter the true Church. 
Such a faith makes us living members of the mystic Body of the 
Redeemer. In fact, of what avail is it, children, if Protestants 
lead naturally pure, honest lives, yet possess virtues which lack 
the interior impulse of the Holy Ghost? They may well say 
‘'We do no harm, we lead good lives’"; but, if they do not enter 
the true fold of Christ, all their protestations are in vain, because 
a really good life is that which is so formed and ordered as to lead 
to the Way that is Blessed and Eternal. Without this admirable 
order and relationship a good life is of no value. These poor people 
do not enter the door of the true fold of Christ, because they do 
not know Christ perfectly, or, at least, do not accept in their 
entirety His Sacred Commands. 

Sth November, To-day the weather is more gorgeous than that 
of yesterday. The sun shines, the air is warm, the sea tranquil 
and smooth, and of a beautiful blue hue, whilst the vessel sails 
swiftly and quietly. My companion arose this morning as bright 
as a bird. Having said our prayers, we went on deck, where we 
spent our time, praying, reading or writing letters, just when we 
felt like it, and speaking to those who approached us, amongst 
whom were some Protestants, to whom we quietly suggested 
some religious ideas which we hoped might serve as the seed of 
a knowledge of the Truth. I must not, however, forget to turn 
back to Paris, with the thought of what the good Jesus inspired 
me to do whilst passing through that city. For seven years I 
had nourished a secret desire to open a House in Paris, but the 
strenuous life of our American Missions always prevented me. 
Now, however, on passing through Paris again, an irresistible 
force held me back in the capital. I first visited Montmartre, as 
this seemed to me quite a natural thing to do, and I felt driven 
onwards. There I received Holy Communion, made an hour’s 
adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, Which is always exposed 
in that temple for the salvation of France, and, as I looked at 
the beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart which stands over the 
altar with its arms extended. It seemed to say to me in mute but 
eloquent language, “Here I want you, here I will protect you, 
here, though you will have some difficulty, you will succeed.” 
Plaving finished my visit to this great Sanctuary, built by the 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

offerings of the whole of the French people, I felt a still greater 
impulse. So I went to the Cardinal Archbishop, but was unable 
to see him at home, as he had just left for the country. I was told 
to talk to one of the Vicars General. The only one I found was 
Monsignor Thomas, an excellent and exemplary Prelate, who, 
however, certainly inspired by God, thought it well to make 
certain objections, and represented to me how difficult that was 
which seemed so easy to me. However, instead of losing courage 
I felt more determined than ever. I seemed to realise the interior 
awakening of a great feeling of gratitude towards this excellent 
Vicar, who, by thus making the way somewhat difficult for me, 
gave me the opportunity of beginning, with the cross, a founda¬ 
tion which I had so much at heart. And it was really a cross 
for me, because, while the difficulties thus presented did not 
deprive me of the hope of opening this House, so long-desired, 
nevertheless they meant the delay of the realisation of my long- 
cherished hopes. Moreover, I desired to arrange everything in 
fifteen days, so as to have time to go to England before leaving 
for America. The delay was certainly a great obstacle to my 
plans, for I had business in England which required my presence 
there not later than the middle of November. I thought I heard 
the words of the eminent Cardinal Vicar ringing in my ears; 
‘‘Disembark in England and found a House of the Institute 
there, and you will do great good.'’ For me these words were 
like a precept, but the delay in France was an obstacle to my 
going to England, and caused me such great sorrow as to prove 
a real cross to me. I seemed to feel that I could embrace any 
other cross rather than this, but everything was arranged by God 
to render me more worthy of this blessing, without which there 
could be no success. In the meantime, the most Eminent Cardinal 
Richard, to whom Monsignor Montagnini had spoken on behalf 
of the Apostolic Legate, gave me instructions to open the House, 
about which he himself was quite satisfied. About the same time 
a letter arrived from Cardinal Rampolla, Secretary of State, 
Rome, who, in the name of the Holy Father, asked His Eminence 
to render what effective help he could in favour of the projected 
foundation. The matter would have been settled at once, but 
for the absence of the approval of the Vicar General, Monsignor 
Thomas, but even for this I hadn't to wait long, as an unexpected 


Liverpool to Nezv York — November, 1898 

and gracious letter, full of those sentiments of piety which dis¬ 
tinguished him, came from the Monsignor, in which he gave me 
as much satisfaction as he had previously given me trouble. 
Shortly after, when visiting our Houses in Milan and Rome, he 
told the Sisters that even whilst he was putting difficulties in my 
way, he felt interiorly as if he ought to say, “Go, found a House, 
and it will be blessed by the Sacred Heart.'’ The last difficulty 
was the choice of the place, for, not knowing the city, I might 
easily have made a mistake. Instead of the modest position I 
was about to choose. His Eminence the Cardinal, through the 
Vicar General, advised me to go to the Parish of Saint Pierre du 
Chaillot, between the Squares of Etoile and II Trocadero, the most 
aristocratic locality of Paris, which I should not have chosen 
myself. We found a house in Via Dumont d’Urville, No. 20, 
and though it was one of the most modest houses in this distin¬ 
guished quarter, it was very costly, and I should not have taken 
it, except under obedience to the wish of the Eminent Cardinal 
Archbishop, who encouraged me. “Obedience,” I said within 
myself, “carries victory and works wonderful prodigies. When 
the House has been opened, the means to sustain it will follow.” 
We did not, however, know where the means were going to come 
from, but the Sacred Heart, who always provides and cares for 
us, knew where they would come from. The house itself being 
too rich in its appointments, we chose the servants’ apartments 
for the Community as dormitories, the porter’s room for the 
Community Room, the kitchen for the Refectory, leaving the 
best rooms for such lady boarders as might come. And, seeing 
what I had done was God’s Will, and in obedience to the Pope, 
whose blessing is always fruitful, we had one boarder very soon. 
On the day of the great Saint Michael the Archangel, the special 
Angel of our Institute, which he guards with a body of Angels 
and Saints, and called by me our great Crusade, the House was 
opened, and about the 1st of October the Countess Spottiswood 
Mackin, an American lady of excellent dispositions and with a 
big heart, came to us. No sooner was she with us than she felt 
strongly inclined to help in a special manner the Missionary Sisters 
of the Sacred Heart, and used all her efforts to bring us into contact 
with persons who could help us. She herself helped us, and, not 
satisfied with that, she organized a concert under the patronage 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

of the Princess Eulalia of Spain, who accepted the honor very 
willingly, being only too happy to help the Missionary Sisters of 
the Sacred Heart in their new foundation. She, the Countess 
Spottiswood, arranged the affair so well by reason of her excellent 
and energetic personality and her beautiful disposition, that one 
would imagine she is capable of putting a whole country into 
movement when it is a question of assisting those whom the 
Holy Father favours. With all her energy, she maintains a great 
simplicity which enhances all her other good qualities, and as 
simplicity is the sister of humility, so she listens to every word 
I say and obeys me like a child, being willing to make any 
sacrifice in order to conform with the requirements of a Religious 
House, and in order to make herself worthy, as she says, of doing 
us a little good. See, my dear daughters, how admirable is the 
Providence of that Most Adorable Heart, Who knows how to help 
His little Missionaries when they know how to abandon themselves 
to Him! But this is not all. On the 1st of October, His Eminence 
Cardinal Richard returned to Paris, and, through his Vicar Gener¬ 
al, made known his desire to see me. On the 4th October I went to 
His Eminence, and his kind reception left a lasting impression 
upon me—the impression of a most holy soul inspiring me with a 
great veneration for him. He treated me as a real father would, 
and gave me a letter not only formally approving the foundation, 
but making it very conspicuous in the letter that I had been 
recommended to him by the Holy Father, Leo XHI. He not only 
helped me in his capacity as Archbishop, but gave me a large 
offering which was recorded in a book, which moved others to 
follow his example, for the recommendation of the Venerable 
Archbishop had the efficacy of a command in respect to many 
other generous persons. What do you say now, my dear daugh¬ 
ters? Are you not astonished at the goodness of the Most Adorable 
Heart of the most loving Jesus? Let us acknowledge Him as 
our most powerful Advocate and Ruler. He is always in the 
presence of His Father, pleading our cause. Our cause is in His 
hands; in the Wound of the Side of the most clement Jesus. 
He never abandons those who have an upright heart, who trust 
in Him and hope in His Divine Heart. He is our sure Refuge in 
trials, and at the opportune moment He gives us His powerful 
and loving help. He scatters with His breath the designs of our 

Liverpool to New York — November, 1898 


adversaries. Remember, daughters, that our trust in Jesus is our 
very life, and we must always hope in Him and in the goodness 
of His Most Adorable Heart against every hope. It may at times 
appear that He overlooks the evil that we suffer; but, no. He is 
awake. He watches over us and all our interests. It is He who 
brings forth the lilies of the valley and the flowers of the fields, 
but He thinks more of us, as we are the elect portion of His Divine 
Heart. Why? Because we are consecrated to Him as His Spouses, 
desirous to please Him always, and because in a special manner we 
are dedicated to Him as Missionaries of His Divine Heart. Yes, 
my daughters, as long as you have the grace to combat faithfully 
under the standard of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, you 
will always walk under the protection of a special Providence. 
But an exact fidelity is necessary to merit such a protection. You 
are certainly resolved to be thus faithful, but you must also 
supplicate the good Jesus to place His seal upon your arm so that 
you may never need to lean on human creatures and to put a 
seal on your heart, so that you will love Him only and will work 
for Him alone. Ask Him to seal with His Holy Name all your 
thoughts, words and actions, all your sufferings, your joys and 
aspirations. Beg Him to live always in you and you in Him, so 
that you may always be one with Him, that you may always 
glorify Him, and not bear in vain the noble and enviable title of 
Missionaries of His Divine Heart. 

November 9th. Our voyage continues, as it began, just as quiet 
and calm as if we were on a calm lake. Last evening, in the 
company of my dear travelling companion, I remained on deck 
near the stern contemplating the beautiful spectacle formed by 
the phosphorescence. The steamer w^as one bright light all round, 
and the waves seemed to reflect the moon. My companion looked 
round, but the moon could not itself be seen at this moment. It 
was as yet invisible. Her surprise increased, as she could not 
account for the bright light coming from a sea so dark in colour. 
The atmosphere was moist but loaded with health-giving qualities, 
and so we remained as though with our mouths wide open to 
inhale w’hat the good Providence of God sent us. It strengthened 
our lungs, and I was happy, as I wanted my companion to get 
still stronger. We sang the Ave Maris Stella, and the quiet waves 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

seemed to re-echo our voices and to modulate them in a curious 
way. It seemed that the heavens opened for the Angels to join 
us, and that Mary, Queen of all Saints, spread her mantle over 
us to give us ample protection. I, however, feel urged by 
sentiments of sincere gratitude, to again return in thought to 
Paris to tell you more about the people there who were so good 
to us. It happened that His Grace the Archbishop Chapelle, 
had been to Lourdes to compose a pastoral for his diocese at the 
feet of Mary Immaculate, in whom, full of great faith, he places 
all his trust; but, though he had left for the wonder-working 
Sanctuary of the Pyrenees, he gave me, as before, all the help he 
could for the new foundation, and on his return came to con¬ 
gratulate me on my success and to give solemn Benediction in 
thanksgiving. Having seen the book in which His Eminence 
Cardinal Richard had written, he also added his own recommenda¬ 
tion. This is a real adornment of the book, because it came from 
a heart so full of zeal, a zeal that renders him worthy of the 
Episcopate. Amongst other things, he said it was a matter of 
great satisfaction for him to be able to help our Institute, that 
it was very dear to his heart, and that it was his duty to help me 
as much as he could, the Holy Father having made a special 
recommendation of the Institute in the last audience he had with 
His Holiness in the month of August. His Holiness, Pope Leo 
XIIL, possessing great insight of character, recognized the merit 
and value of His Grace, Archbishop Chapelle, and created him 
Apostolic Legate at Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippines. This 
clear-minded Prelate is already working day and night in Paris 
so as to make the treaty of peace fruitful and to preserve entire to 
the Catholic Church the populations of these territories. Mon¬ 
signor Chapelle is now at an advanced age, but he works like a 
young man, and could take wings when it is a question of consoling 
the august and venerable Pontiff, so great is his joy. The Holy 
Father made no mistake in the choice, because the good Prelate 
has done great things in these few days, and it is not surprising 
that things go well with him, because he is a beautiful soul, all 
of God, working in His Holy Name; certainly, God supports him 
by His graces. If we feel our hearts, sometime, pierced with 
thorns at the sight of these terrible times, for it seems as if hell 
itself has been let loose with all its fury, we may be consoled when 

Liverpool to New York — November, 1898 


we see such men as Archbishop Chapelle working with so much 
energy to repair the injury done to the Church and to her beloved 
children. The wise Leo has said, '‘Defende nos in proelio contra 
nequitiam et insidias diaboli.” It was for good reasons, also, 
that he wanted the whole world to repeat it. Yes! The furious 
enemy of those redeemed by Christ, Satan, who, with pride, insults 
the noble people of Israel, will be conquered. He, the cruel enemy, 
advances with rage against us in every direction, but we'll conquer 
him, if we trustfully repeat, '‘Defende nos in proelio." The enemy 
comes to us with the sword and spear and the shield, but we, like 
the shepherd David, made according to God's Own Heart, go to 
meet him without fear, in the name of the Lord, with peace and 
confidence, and enclosed within the Heart of God. Let us have 
confidence, dear daughters, unlimited confidence, and, like brave 
champions, we shall weaken the strength of the enemy and conquer 
him, and make everything redound to the glory of God and the 
consolation of His Divine Heart. 

In Paris the time seemed to fly. On the eve of Saint Teresa, 
after having finished the preparation of our little chapel, the 
Rector of St. Pierre de Chaillot came to celebrate Holy Mass and 
to reserve the Blessed Sacrament. It was a great feast day for us, 
and we thought everything had become more beautiful and grander 
with the coming of our Beloved into our home. As Jesus had 
deigned to come, so with Him all other good things would come. 
Nothing else remained for me to do but to leave Paris, feeling 
sure that everything would follow all right. But, as the days flew 
by and between one thing and another, wishing to have every¬ 
thing in perfect order, the end of the month arrived before I had 
noticed it. During these latter days the second curate of the 
parish came to say Mass. The first curate. Father Chesnelong, 
having returned from the country, also came to visit us and after¬ 
wards said Mass. He congratulated us on having opened a House 
in the parish, and encouraged us greatly, offering us his best wishes 
and help. Monsignor Granito di Belmonte, the Legate's Secretary, 
who did so much for us, came also to say Mass. 

With the blessing of everyone, I left Paris on the 27th of 
October, nine p.m. for America via England, for, although there 
was no time for me to work in England, I felt I wanted at least 
to visit this country, where I longed so much to do some good. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

The evening before, Monsignor Bishop Patron, Superior of the 
Franciscans of the Holy Land in Paris, a man of patriarchal good¬ 
ness, obtained for us a reduction in the cost of our tickets. Three 
Sisters went in advance to the station to arrange everything. 
When I got there the Sisters came into the carriage with me, and 
as no signal was given that the train was about to start, the lattei 
moved out of the station without our noticing it. The doors were 
closed hurriedly, and the train moved on for another hour. It 
was impossible for the Sisters to leave the train. At first I felt 
upset owing to the late hour, but soon we were quite happy at 
the thought of being together for a few minutes more. The dis¬ 
tance was going to be great and the separation still longer. At 
the first stop the station-master came to tell us we must not 
worry, and that in a few minutes another express train would 
come along and convey the Sisters back to Paris. In fact, at 
midnight they were already at home, as told me in their letters 
which reached me in England. At one o'clock I had fallen asleep, 
tired out with the work of preparing the luggage for the Missions, 
when I was suddenly awakened by being told that we were at 
Calais. We got out of the train in haste to get on board the steamer. 
The place was as bright as day with the light of the lighthouse, 
the brilliancy of which was as bright as if emanating from the 
sun. The sea was very smooth, and with the swiftness of 
lightning the boat conveyed us in an hour's time to Dover, where 
the train awaited us to take us to London with an equal swiftness. 
I wanted to admire England, which I had longed to visit, but I 
was absolutely fatigued, and, being alone with Sister, I took up 
a comfortable position in order to sleep or rest. I was told in 
Paris I should not reach London until nine a.m., but about five- 
thirty I was awakened by being asked for our tickets, and was 
told I was in London and that within ten minutes we should 
arrive at Victoria Station, our destination. I felt so worn out 
that I would have given anything to be able to rest longer. My 
limbs were aching a great deal, but it was no use, as I had to 
leave the train presently. 

Having left our luggage at Victoria Station, we went to the 
Jesuit Church, Farm Street. We received Holy Communion, and 
on leaving the church went to see the venerable Superior, for whom 
Father Frigeri had given us a letter. He received us with that 

Liverpool to New York — November, 1898 


paternal goodness which is traditional with the Jesuits. He was 
interested in our work, and gave us a letter of recommendation 
to the Sisters of Mary Reparatrice, who were to lodge us for 
three days while we remained in London. They did not live 
far off, and I thanked God, for I felt I could not have taken 
another step. We saw the Superior, who received us with great 
kindness and gave us a very good breakfast, which Sister Frances 
ate with a sharpened appetite. As far as I was concerned, I 
needed rest rather than food, but I dissimulated and tried to 
keep going. As things turned out, in fact, rest was out of the 
question, for the Superior told us that the rooms were full and 
she could not accommodate us. The good Reverend Mother, 
however, gave us the addresses of two other Convents and sent 
a young lady to take us by the shortest and surest way. I 
thought of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, as I undertook 
the journey, but my legs would not move, so much so that I 
thought I had lost all power of motion. I decided to take a cab 
and visit the Bishop of Southwark, from whom I felt sure of 
receiving the help I needed, as he had been a friend of our Institute 
for two years. The journey was long owing to the cabman not 
knowing the residence of the Catholic Bishop, and so we arrived 
at the episcopal residence of Monsignor Bourne at one p.m. He 
was not at home, having left for the Seminary thirty miles distant 
to prepare the students for their ordination, which was to take 
place the following day. Zealous as he is, he himself wanted to 
prepare these new Levites for the great mission which awaited 
them. We met his worthy Secretary, however, who received us 
with great cordiality, as if we belonged to the same household. 
He ordered our dinner, and in the meantime sent word to the 
Sisters of Retreat asking them kindly to prepare a lodging for us. 
At four p.m. the good Father accompanied us in a cab to the 
Convent where we were about to stay. 

I had hoped to go to bed as soon as I arrived, owing to my 
immense fatigue, but these good Religious, who for the first time 
were entertaining strange Sisters, especially Italians, surrounded 
me. They wanted me to talk about Rome and the Pope, so that be¬ 
fore I could realise it, the clock struck seven p.m., and then we had 
to go to supper. At last they took me to my room. It was now 
eight-thirty p.m. I did not go to bed, but fell upon it, more dead 


Travels of Mother Fy^ances Xavier Cabrini 

than alive on account of the soreness of my limbs, which seemed 
dislocated. I was so exhausted that I could not sleep. The next 
day was Sunday, and I was anxious to go to the Community Mass 
at seven a.m., but I could not move. Sister Frances went to the 
chapel. The Sisters, seeing that I was not present, became alarmed. 
They came to my room to see if I was seriously ill, and appeared 
somewhat frightened, not being accustomed to receive Sisters of 
other Congregations. One of the Sisters, entering the room, 
threw the windows wide open and came to examine me. ‘‘Oh,’* 
she exclaimed, “she is like a baby asleep!” I accepted this 
pretty compliment. “Sisters,” I said, “be patient, I want to 
rest a little longer, then I should like to receive Holy Communion, 
and afterwards shall go to hear Mass at some chapel near at 
hand.” At ten-thirty I went to the chapel, where the good 
Chaplain, who also was a Religious of the Holy Retreat, gave 
me Holy Communion. Then I partook of a little coffee, and the 
Sisters accompanied me to Mass in a chapel near at hand, which 
serves as a school during the week and a chapel on Sundays, as 
in Brooklyn, where we have more than six hundred children. 
I went to Mass, but could hardly move my legs, and had to ask 
my companions to walk more slowly. In the meantime, I began 
to feel better and to walk better. I was glad, as this was not an 
opportune moment to get ill. After dinner I rested till Vespers. The 
following night I slept peacefully, and the next day I felt quite 
bright. So, after breakfast, I went out with my companion to 
see London. The first thing I wanted to do was to buy a trunk 
in place of the one I had left at Victoria Station. It had been 
given us in Paris, and had burst open during the journey. It 
was necessary to buy a new one, as we could not have continued 
our journey without danger of losing our effects. With this initial 
experience in shopping, we began to learn something about prices 
in London, which to us appeared fabulous. As everything is big 
in this great city, so also are its prices. 

Leaving the Sisters’ House to go to the centre of the city, where 
all the commerce is transacted, we entered a small station. Having 
taken our tickets, we stood with many others in what appeared to 
us a room, waiting to start, when suddenly we felt ourselves 
descending into the earth. Then there was a stop, and we found 
ourselves in a large subway, lighted by electricity. People began 


Liverpool to Nezv York — November^ 1898 

to run as if they were running for their lives, and without saying 
a word. In London everybody seems to move about in silence. 
So, we too followed and took our places in the train, or, rather, 
trains, for there was a line of carriages which could not be counted 
in the light, for it was like night so deep down. We had hardly 
got into our compartment when the train moved off, and, as quick 
as lightning, we found ourselves in the centre of the city, having 
gone all the way underground. At the station we entered a lift, 
though owing to its large size it did not seem to be a lift. Then 
we rose and came out into the daylight. We went around admiring 
the great edifices, which are really beautiful. When we asked 
people the way, they not only answered kindly, but even offered 
to carry our bag and umbrella. We asked one man the way, and, 
after pointing in the right direction, he apologised at not being 
able to accompany us, saying he had urgent business on hand. 
We entered a shop about six times the size of that of Bocconi of 
Milan, to buy something we needed, and were treated with great 
kindness and courtesy. We were offered chairs and shown what¬ 
ever might interest us. In other countries they speak of nobility 
and courtesy, in London they practise it. In one shop where we 
were unable to get a trunk, the manager had us accompanied by 
one of his clerks and gave him instructions to help us to get what 
we wanted. Similar examples I could cite by the hundred. This 
is how they treat Sisters in England; and God, Who considers as 
done to Himself whatever is done to His servants, will bless this 
nation and give it the grace of entering into the One True Church. 

November lOth, The weather has been beautiful and the days 
most gorgeous as we have proceeded, but to-day it is so cold that 
we cannot stay on deck. Fortunately, we are able to stay in our 
cabins, and very comfortably also, as we are not troubled with 
the smell of pitch, which is so disagreeable. We need not go to 
the common room. We spend a happy time, praying, reading and 
practising languages. Sister Frances, who thinks she is already 
very clever at Italian, teaches it to others and amuses us with 
her mistakes, which she makes with so much grace and personal 
enjoyment. The other day they asked her nationality, and she 
said she was Italian because she belonged to an Italian Insti¬ 
tute. One of the officers, sorry at seeing us always shut up, would 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

come or send for us whenever there was anything new to see; 
especially when a steamer was in sight. This he did to mitigate 
the monotony, which he thought must be trying for us. But we 
were not in the least inconvenienced, because we were united with 
our Jesus and doing His Holy Will. We had Heaven in our 
hearts. The immensity of the ocean, with its most clear and 
vast horizon, raises our minds to Heaven. It seems as if the 
sky, with its clouds of singular beauty, touches the waters of the 
ocean. All this helps to raise one’s mind to the most beautiful 
contemplation, and seems to bring us to the door of Heaven, and 
to enable us to hear the echoes of those holy and sweet words 
which the Church repeats with great jubilee, ‘‘Alleluia, Alleluia.” 
Holy Mother Church never tires of repeating these words, as 
though to give us here below a foretaste of the harmonies of 

Let us return to London again, where courtesy and politeness 
reign supreme. It was mid-day, and, as my companion was 
hungry, I looked round to see if I could find an hotel, when I 
discovered one with an Italian name. We went in and asked 
for something to eat, and were received with great cordiality. 
They made such a fuss, that one would have thought we were 
relations. They put us at a nice little table, all by ourselves, and 
served us a la Milanese, It was a great pleasure to meet these 
Italians, who are a credit to their nationality, for they are good 
Catholics, loving their religion and practising it. It happened to be a 
day of abstinence, and they offered us whatever we could eat in the 
circumstances. The day flew by very quickly, and, seeing that it was 
near sunset, we went to the station from which we started in the 
morning. This was easily reached, as the Underground runs 
throughout the city like a labyrinth. We took our tickets as in the 
morning, descended by the lift, and were in the train in no time. 
Having passed two or three stations, I remarked to my companion 
that I thought we had made a mistake, as our station did not seem 
to come round, and it was difficult to find one’s bearings in the 
Underground. Sister Frances encouraged me by saying that, hav¬ 
ing been all round the city, the journey seemed longer, and that we 
should soon arrive at the correct point. I remained quiet for another 
few minutes, and said another decade of my rosary, but, not feel- 

Liverpool to New York — November^ 1898 


ing convinced after having passed two other stations, I asked the 
conductor where we were. Our surprise was great when he saw 
our tickets and told us we were very far from our destination. 

We had to leave the train, and after descending, crossed a bridge 
to take a train going in the opposite direction. We then stopped, 
after some time, at a station, which we were told was quite near 
the Convent at which we were staying. We inquired where the 
Convent was, but nobody seemed able to tell us. Night was com¬ 
ing on, and the darkness was great, as the moon, surrounded by 
clouds, looked more like a lamp going out, while its light rather 
bewildered us than showed us the way. In the end I was obliged 
to take a cab, but even the cabman had to ask continually where 
the Convent w^as situated. 

On August 2nd, we left London to go to Manchester where some 
friends awaited us, and where Sister Frances was able to see her 
relatives before leaving for the Missions. Before leaving London 
we saw Monsignor Bourne, Bishop of Southwark, and bade fare¬ 
well to the dear Sisters of the Retreat, who had become very 
attached to us and wanted us to stay on longer. At nine a.m. 
we were at Victoria, where we gave orders with regard to our 
luggage. The porters were going to weigh it to ascertain the 
cost of transport, when the clerk gave them orders to take it as 
it was to the train. “The Sisters,'’ he said, “can go as they 
are," and he gave me a ticket to reclaim the luggage at the end 
of the journey. I was astonished at the courtesy shown me, and 
interiorly implored blessings on this country of England, which I 
soon should love to call, if possible, the “Land of Angels." (*) 

(♦)NOTE—This letter is incomplete, as are also Letters X, XI, XII, 
and XIII. 


flew IJorl to Me 
^eptemLet, 1899 


A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

My dear Daughters, 

September 2nd, 1899. 

Peace be to you, and may it accompany you * 
everywhere and always. 

“L’alme belle e fortunate 
Sol Gesu puo far beate 
Senza Lui di un denso velo 
Coprirebbesi anche il cielo.” 

How lovely and sweet it is to undertake a sea voyage when one 
is tired and worn out with the labours of the Missions! The 
day was fixed, the cabins were secured, and September the 2nd 
came all too quickly. I had to work day and night during the 
last forty-eight hours to settle certain affairs, connected with the 
Mission, which required a great deal of my attention. I had to 
prepare the luggage at night, hence I was worn out when I got 
on board the steamer. As soon as I had finished waving my 
handkerchief to the Sisters, I sat on a chair, and fell asleep. When 
I awoke I could not persuade myself that I was alone with Mother 
Virginia. It was only then I realised that I was far away from the 
Sisters and felt the sorrow of separation from them. It seemed to 
me that I had still a word to say to one Sister, to give advice to an¬ 
other, to suggest something to a third, but already the immensity 
of the ocean had isolated me from everyone, while the rainy weather 
seemed to make me feel sadder. Reflecting upon my vocation as a 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Missionary, I remembered that I ought not to allow sadness to take 
hold of me. So I entered into the Heart of Jesus, where I saw all 
the Sisters, and though I could not speak to them, I asked the 
Sacred Heart to tell each of them what I had forgotten, or what I 
had not time to say. Great was my pleasure at the thought that the 
Sacred Heart would inspire you with the good resolution to do 
what I want you to do, and to add to it His Grace, and thus facili¬ 
tate the exercise of those virtues which give to true Missionaries of 
the Sacred Heart that energy which makes them zealous for the 
salvation of souls. Vast and fruitful is the harvest that the good 
God spreads out before you, and you can extend your zeal all over 
it, gathering every day abundant sheaves. You are the fortunate 
Spouses of Jesus; you are therefore made the queens of all the 
treasures of the King. Keep in mind that souls were redeemed 
by the Blood of Jesus, and therefore you must do all in your 
power to lead them to the Divine Heart. Work with fervour. 
Love will enable you to work with fervour and fruit. In your 
actions, your words and your sufferings, seek always the greater 
glory of God, and even perfection to which you must incessantly 
aspire will be animated by that most noble end—^the glory of God. 
Unite all the powers of your spirit; work, pray and suffer. Do 
continual violence to yourselves, ever mindful of the words, ‘‘Omnia 
possum in Eo qui me confortat.*’ Have great confidence in God; 
let your confidence grow greater every day. You are poor crea¬ 
tures, and so you must lean on the Creator. You are weak and 
miserable, hence you must rely on the Divine Omnipotence. Yes, 
my daughters, lean on your Beloved, because the soul that abandons 
itself to the Most Adorable Heart of Jesus in everything it does, 
is not only sustained but even carried forward by Jesus Himself. 

September 4th. This was the second night I had spent on board, 
and still the fatigue, which had not as yet abandoned me, left me 
somewhat indisposed. I awoke many times, and it took me 
several minutes to realise where I was, for I still imagined I was 
in New York, and that it was time for me to get up to go on with 
the work of the Missions which I had begun, and which you, with 
indefatigable zeal, should continue. I was even unsettled by 
anxiety, but, by the grace of God, I did not allow it to conquer 
me. I consoled myself with the thought that the work was well 

New York to Havre — September^ 1899 


protected. I wish now to speak of my last Mission, in which, with 
the approval of His Grace, Archbishop Corrigan, I opened a 
School at “Five Points,” where the Protestants work with great 
ardour, especially among the poor Italians. 

The devil has made use of every strategy against me for several 
months past, even setting the most ridiculous obstacles in my way, 
but I hope to conquer, and my hope is supported by the 
indefatigable zeal of Archbishop Corrigan, who desires the School 
and supports it. However difficult a work may be, I always 
place it in the Adorable Heart of our sweet Jesus, and thus I rest 
sure and tranquil, even though I am far away, for I know well 
that He can do and complete the work I desire for His glory. 
When I am on the spot I shall work with might and main, but when 
Obedience calls me away to work elsewhere, I must leave without 
anxiety the previous work, trusting in Jesus that He will give 
help and energy to the Sisters who have to continue the work 
which I have left interrupted. Oh, the law of love is so beautiful 
and amiable! He has given it Himself to His creatures. But 
we cannot love Him if we are not first loved by Him. Having 
given such a law. He has communicated to us the grace with 
which to love Him. What shall we not do, then, for love of a 
God so amiable and generous towards us, that He has called us 
to follow Him closely and to continue His Mission on this earth? 
Let us correspond to His Love. Let us be generous, remember¬ 
ing always that the salvation of many souls is entrusted to our 
charity. We can do nothing of ourselves, for we are poor and 
miserable, but if we have faith and trust in Him Who comforts 
us, then we can do all things. Let us open wide our hearts, let 
us help those souls lying under the yoke of the king of darkness. 
Let us break, by the fire of ardent Charity, the heavy chains that 
bind these poor souls to the terrible slavery of the devil, and we 
shall see that our efforts are not in vain. Let us fall at the feet 
of Jesus, and, sorrowing over the iniquity of the world, supplicate 
the Divine Heart to open the treasures of Its infinite Mercy. Then 
let us begin anew, never allowing ourselves to be overcome by 
fatigue. Difficulties should never frighten the Spouse of Christ, 
but render her stronger and more steadfast. Do not be discour¬ 
aged by repulses and contradictions, but always go forward with 
the serenit}^ and strength of the Angels, keeping to your path 

188 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

despite every contrary influence. When things are easy, every¬ 
thing appears to smile, but difficulties prove where there is fidelity 
and constancy. Remember, daughters, you are the tutelary Angels 
of the earth, therefore you should always be ready when holy 
obedience calls, to fly over the vast fields which charity lays before 
you. Let your lives be a perennial sacrifice of yourselves in behalf 
of the human race. Let your joy consist in working much and 
praying much. Always renew your offering as victims of expiation 
and reconciliation between Heaven and earth. In contradictions 
and difficulties, bear in mind how Our Lord let the Apostles work 
all night in vain, midst the storm to try them, so that they might 
accustom themselves to suffer adversity, and not grow faint in 
the midst of persecutions they would meet in the course of their 
lives, but, rather, resist and go forward whatsoever the difficulty 
might be. And you, dear daughters, who are destined to continue 
the Mission of the Apostles, enter often into yourselves, amidst 
the retirement and silence which your rules allow. Look into 
your souls. See how you behave in moments of adversity and 
prosperity, both of which form the two storms of our lives. 
Greater is the storm of prosperity than that of adversity, but in 
either you may be shipwrecked. Examine yourselves well at the 
two examinations of conscience every day, which are exacted by 
your rule. See if you allow inordinate affections to predominate, 
and if you behave as you should when exposed to winds contrary 
to your spiritual welfare, no matter how much they serve to flatter 
your imagination and desires. 

I wish you were all on board with me to-day. What a spectacle! 
An horizon so vast gives one an idea of immensity; wherever 
one turns to look, all is tranquillity. The steamer is travelling at 
great speed, but we hardly notice it, as the elements that surround 
us are so quiet that the steamer cuts through the waves with ease. 
One would almost think we were sailing through the sky, the 
waves being of such a pale blue that they resemble the skies. 

This is a beautifully spacious and comfortable steamer —La 
Touraine. I have not seen another which provides so much 
comfort and convenience. It is like a small town, with its streets, 
avenues and squares. Magnificent rooms, parlours, studies and 
apartments with every possible comfort, help to make up this 
floating ''town.” The personnel is very good and kind. The 


New York to Havre — September, 1899 

Captain on board is a king and a father also; he acts in both 
capacities—he is as majestic as a king and as charitable as a 
father. Seeing that our cabins were situated in London Avenue, 
some distance from the dining-room and the stair leading to the 
decks, I asked him to change them, and, to our great surprise, 
he gave us a luxurious apartment with two beds, on the top deck, 
the best and most comfortable. Near us is a wonderful parlour 
with a balcony, which is under the lamp which lights up the 
salon and dining rooms. This parlour is at our disposal, and 
no one is allowed to enter unless we wish it. It is here that I am 
writing. Mother Virginia keeps me company, sitting on a deck 
chair or lying now and then on her bed, free of sea-sickness, from 
which up to the present she has greatly suffered. 

The passengers are a select class of people. Many are Spanish, 
some Americans and Italians and a few French. We have on board 
an Augustinian Friar, a French Priest, an Italian Priest, an 
American Priest, several Sisters, an Ursuline, a Marist and four 
Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny. The priests and the first two 
Sisters sit at the same table with me, and help me very much, as 
I do not know which of the dishes offered will best suit me, for 
I’m like a fish—I feel better on sea than on land. 

September 5th. Last evening, just before supper, the Captain 
came to see us, and we asked him what kind of weather we were 
likely to have during the night, as we had noticed a change come 
over the sun during the day as if it were late autumn, and we 
felt the atmosphere growing colder and more trying to bear. The 
Captain said he could not say, and so we concluded something 
new was about to happen. We also asked the staff, but, despite 
their kindness, they would not tell us the truth, faithful to their 
rule of not making known any probable danger to the passengers 
beforehand. We all went to table, but, after the first course, 
everybody, one after another, left, as the steamer swayed from one 
side to the other. We were naturally upset. Mother Virginia 
fled to her bed; it is the only place for her when the steamer 
rocks. At our table, only the Marist Sister and I remained until 
dinner was over, and then we took a walk on deck, thanking God 
for having made us such good sailors. But the rocking increased 
and the air turned colder, so I thought I would go to bed also. 

^90 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

About nine-thirty the silence was broken by the fog-horn. This 
is a sign of great fog, and is blown to call the attention of other 
steamers which may be coming in the same direction, as it is 
impossible to see them amidst such dense darkness. The move¬ 
ment still continued, but, fortunately, it was of a rolling character 
rather than a pitching one, but the quite unusual activity of the 
crew frightened us as well as the other passengers. Coincidently, 
the points of our meditation spoke of the storm which tossed the 
Apostles, and so we became quiet at the thought of the beautiful 
words of Jesus to His beloved Apostles, “Habete fiduciam,'^ and 
''Ego sum, Nolite timere.'' In fact, having our beloved Jesus 
with us, why need we fear ? He is the Master of Creation, and all 
creatures obey Him. He is the source of every good, of every 
consolation, so we have every reason to remain perfectly serene. 
I had a small statue of the Redeemer, which I held up towards 
the sea with great faith and asked Him to bless the waves, at 
the same time saying to Him, "Ne discesseris a me, intende in 
adjutorium meum.’^ Then I went to sleep quietly and trustingly. 
Shortly after the fog-horn stopped. This was a sign that the fog 
had disappeared. Though the rolling continued, I had no fear, 
although we were passing Newfoundland, where the weather is 
always bad. 

The life of the Saints in Heaven is a life of love and praise; 
such should be the life on earth of a Religious, so much favoured 
by our Heavenly Father. Our whole lives should be employed 
in Thanksgiving, because at every instant we receive infinite 
blessings from the Most High. Saint Paul always recommended 
thanksgiving to the Faithful, and to the Corinthians he wrote, 
'All things are for you, so that abundant graces may redound 
abundantly unto the glory of God by the thanksgiving of many.'' 

The greater number of men give thanks to God only after having 
obtained a grace, but the spirit of Jesus Christ, by which we should 
be animated, teaches us to thank Him first, because the benefits 
we receive are continual and at every moment. This is the best 
disposition you can have to move the Divine Heart in our favour. 
It is a great comfort to me when in some Houses where they make 
Triduums and Novenas to obtain a favour from Heaven, I hear 
added to the prayers, "Agimus tibi Gratias." Then I’m sure the 
prayer will be heard. Yes, my daughters, thanksgiving is a perfect 

New York to Havre — September^ 1899 


act of love, because in it we have no other interest than the glory 
of God, the pleasure of God, the complacency of God. When we 
ask, we are moved hy our own interest, but when we thank, we 
are moved by more noble and more perfect sentiments. Let us 
repeat, children, let us repeat the hymn of thanksgiving which, 
like a blessed and ardent arrow coming from our hearts, will fly 
to and wound the Heart of our most loving Spouse and Benefactor. 

September 6th. What a terrible night we have passed! The 
steamer seemed to jump and fly out of the water. At other times 
we thought it would capsize. Everything was on the move. It 
seemed as if we were going to fall out of our beds; we had not a 
moment’s rest. At dawn there was a little calm, and then we 
tried to rest our tired limbs, which seemed bruised after the con¬ 
tinual and by no means gentle rocking. Having been accustomed 
to quiet voyages, I did not know if this was a dangerous storm. 
So, about midnight, hearing the crew and staff moving about, I 
rang up the steward and asked if it were necessary to prepare for 
any emergency, but he said there was nothing to fear, and to remain 
quiet, as there was a good sea. Though I could not believe that 
the sea was good, as the effects were quite the contrary, yet the 
cool and pleasant air of the steward made us feel reassured. If 
there had been moonlight, it might not have been so bad, but the 
night was very dark. At nine a.m. the rocking began again. I 
was still in bed, for I could not get up, and the stewardess asked 
if we wanted some breakfast. I told her to bring us some coffee. 
It was the first time I had ever had anything brought to my bed, 
and the poor coffee reached me at a very bad moment. No 
sooner had it been poured out, than cup and coffee pot, by a 
sudden jerk of the steamer, were scattered over my bed. I was 
forced to get up whether I liked it or not. Poor Mother Virginia 
would also have liked to get up, but this involuntary rocking took 
away all her strength, so that she could hardly move without feel¬ 
ing sick. 

September 7th. The wind has not ceased yet, and the steamer 
is tossed about as if it were a mere shell. The sea, however, is 
calm, and this contributes to our feeling much better, giving us 
the opportunity and pleasure of doing some good. On deck, we 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

contemplate the vast horizon, and in the immensity of the ocean 
we see reflected very brightly the attributes of God, especially His 
power. His wisdom and His goodness. How great and admirable 
is our loving God in His works! He made everything, made it for 
us, and great should be our gratitude. It ought to be an immense 
source of comfort for us to remember the many favours we have 
received and by which every hour of our lives is marked. We 
should often in spirit adore the Hand of the Sovereign Donor, for 
every grace is a special act of the love of God. This vast multitude 
of graces should not render us indifferent or negligent in showing 
our gratitude, for the multiplicity of them does not diminish their 
value, but, rather, increases it and makes it more valuable. 

Let us frequently consider the graces with which we are con¬ 
tinually surrounded through the immense goodness of God. Let 
it be an incentive to warm our hearts with holy gratitude, which 
in turn will inebriate us little by little with Divine Love. Be 
assured, dear daughters, that if you are faithful in expressing your 
gratitude in the loving service of your God, Jesus, Spouse of 
your souls, will work in you new prodigies of graces and blessings. 

The flame of the love of God will not die in you, for it is like 
fire. The more it spreads and increases, the more it requires to 
be fed. Love is the fountain of grace, and grace has a sublime 
power of attraction. Love is industrious, and becomes, by way 
of superhuman effort, like unto the most pure gold of perfection. 
It conquers sorrows, persecutions and difficulties. May the good 
Jesus love us accordingly and accompany us always with every 
grace. Often you complain of being far away from Jesus. That 
is not so—He follows you everywhere. Be faithful. Leave the 
common ways. Walk swiftly in His footsteps, and, sanctifying 
yourselves, you will save many souls who will follow your example 
and listen to your words. If you love God with great fidelity, it 
will follow that all your actions, sufferings and affections will be 
marked with the Divine Seal, so that your fidelity, your loving 
work, which, in its beginnings is like a small stream, will grow in 
its admirable course and became like a broad river. 

September 8tJi. Beautiful, tranquil and gorgeous is the morning. 
It is the birthday of Her who, with Jesus, forms the great joy of 
Heaven, and the happiness of their children on earth. Happy are 


New York to Havre — September, 1899 

those who love Mary. What goodness, what tenderness does not 
this blessed Mother show us! Her thoughts are all for us, whom 
she calls her children, and we are hers in a special manner, for she 
is the Foundress of our Institute, and it is through the goodness 
of this Divine Mother that we are the Missionaries of the Sacred 
Heart. Our Mother of Grace has us written on her virginal breast. 
Often looking down upon us, she delights in us, and is pleased 
because she sees in us the image of her Beloved Son. With greater 
joy she looks on us when we are faithful to our holy vocation and 
seek to closely imitate her celestial virtues. She rejoices when we 
love much and work much for Him, for the love of Jesus is an ocean 
of unending light, and when it lives in us it renders us as beauti¬ 
ful as the Angels. In order to be faithful and constant in Divine 
Love, let us try to remain always under the mantle of our most ten¬ 
der Mother. She is the Dove of Paradise, and in her conception 
crushed the head of our infernal and deceitful enemy. Look upon 
Mary and imitate her. Having corresponded faithfully with grace, 
she arrived at such a sublime degree of perfection, that she 
became the most wonderful prodigy of celestial virtue, and sur¬ 
passed in sanctity all the Angels and Saints. Oh! dear Mother, 
on this beautiful day you seem to show forth in a most particular 
manner your beauty, your purity and your sanctity. Turn 
towards us your most loving eyes, which give joy to Heaven and 
consolation to the earth. Shower upon us thy blessings, the most 
beautiful flowers of thy most precious virtues, that, under thy 
protection, thy children may preserve themselves and grow beauti¬ 
ful, odoriferous with celestial perfume, and merit to be one day 
transplanted into Heaven, where they will be with thee a pleasing 
incense to the most holy Heart of Jesus. 

I take up my pen again now, and it is three p.m. I wish you could 
only see the blue of the sky, and how vividly the sea reflects it, 
just as if the sea were the sky itself. The vast horizon gives us 
an idea of the vast sovereignity of our celestial Queen and most 
loving Mother. But what have I said? The vastness of the 
immense seas vanish. The splendours of the sky are eclipsed and 
the richness of the earth disappears before the splendour of our 
celestial Queen: “Fecit mihi magna qui potens est.'' Yes, God 
has done great things in our Mother because she was faithful to 
the grace that He invested her with. What happiness is ours to 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

have such a Mother as the Foundress of our Institute! Yes, she 
did found it, because, whilst I was wavering, not knowing whether 
God wanted this work, so many others were also praying to 
the Virgin of Grace. I also prayed to her, and after many prayers 
Bishop Gelmini commanded me to act. Bishop Bersani, with his 
sweet character, induced me to obey without delay the command 
I had received, and Monsignor Serrati helped me with great fervour 
and energy; so that I found myself so implicated in the work 
that I could not withdraw. From our Holy Mother Mary came 
forth the Institute of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. She 
is, therefore, our Mother. What have we to fear ? 

September 9th. Our good Celestial Mother has quietened the 
waves. At her command the sea became more and more beauti¬ 
ful. It really looks like a sky of most beautiful blue, and its 
tranquillity gives one an idea of the soul united with Jesus Who 
preserves peace of mind and makes everything easy and possible. 
The steamer is travelling at a great speed, though we don't notice 
the movement, and yesterday did four hundred and twenty-seven 
miles, and is doing still more to-day. At a distance we can see 
great fishing boats, and the sea looks so much like the sky that 
the boats appear as if suspended in the air. The faces of the 
passengers have now lost the look of sadness they had during the 
past stormy days. They are happy and contented, but it is not 
the weather alone that contributes to their state of mind, but 
the thought of this being the last day of the journey. To-morrow 
friends will meet friends, and merchants will receive their 
merchandise, which they have perhaps calculated will bring them 
great riches. We, leaning on our Beloved Jesus, have always 
remained serene even in the stormiest weather. Some priests on 
board would say often to us, ‘‘But you are always happy, like 
those who have a clear conscience." I do not know if we really 
have a clear conscience, but I do know we trust the Most Sacred 
Heart of Our Lord Jesus, and, leaning on Him, we do not fear, 
knowing well that He has a special care of us, and that not one 
hair of our heads shall be touched without His permission. 


^enoa to i^uenod ^^ired 

^l^ecemLer^ 1900 

A. M. G. SS. C J. 

2nd December, 1900. 

My dear Daughters, 

May the balsam of the sweetness of the most Sacred 
Heart of Jesus penetrate into your souls, and 
render you worthy to bear the title of the Mis¬ 
sionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

Nel viaggio novel T’invoco e grido: 

Nel tuo bel Cuore qual Colomba ascosa, 

Dell! mi guida O Gesu, pel mare infido; 

Vado e mi mostro senipre fiduciosa. 

E tu, mio caro Ben, fra pioggie e venti 
Spira al mio cuor fiamme d’amore ardenti: 
lo bramo, il sai, che del tuo Cuore il fuoco 
L’essere mio si strugga a poco a poco, 

Lasciando infitto, al tuo sereno sguardo, 

Nel cuor delle mie figlie un dolce dardo. 

It is just a year ago to-day that I arrived at our House in Milan 
at midnight, after having left Spain, where our foundation was so 
wonderfully blessed by Jesus, in the goodness of His Divine Heart. 
It was the vigil of my and our Patron, Saint Francis Xavier; and 
the next day, as you may imagine, there was a great feast, a true 
family feast. To-morrow will also be the beautiful feast of the 
great Apostle of India, but none of you, my beloved daughters, 
will be able to keep the day with me. Only the somewhat muffled 
roar of the waves will typify the echo of your prayers, which, said 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

with such filial affection, will surely reach the mystical staircase 
which leads to the throne of the Most High. The good God, 
moved by your supplications, will send a choir of Angels to guard 
this beautiful boat, Alphonsus XIII., on which I happen to be 
travelling for the first time, and I have firm hopes that, after a 
prosperous voyage, we shall arrive safe and sound in the port of 
Buenos Aires, where our dear Sisters have been awaiting us for 
such a long time. 

I embarked with Sister Anna and Sister Michelina at Genoa, on 
the 30th November of this dear Holy Year 1900. On the morning 
of that day there was a great rush, as the Spanish Transatlantic 
Company notified us, through the kindness of Monsignor Romero, 
titular Bishop of Jasso, that they would sail at eleven a.m. The 
Archbishop of Genoa, having so kindly favoured us by celebrating 
Mass, gave us his heartfelt blessing, and withdrew in order to 
allow us time to finish our final preparations for the voyage. At 
a quarter to eleven, accompanied by a good number of Sisters and 
children, we arrived at the port. Hiring some boats, we reached 
the Alphonsus XIII., which was some distance up the bay, and 
almost on the point of sailing, as we thought. We ascended the 
gangway, one after the other, and on entering the salon found 
His Lordship, Bishop Romero, who, having returned from Rome 
after a pilgrimage which he had led, had hurried to get on board 
in order to arrange three places for us. He received us just as a 
father would. Our pupils took possession of the piano at once, 
and gave an improvised reception in honour of the Bishop and^ 
the good Captain. It was a pleasant surprise to both, and put 
all the passengers, who had the pleasure of assisting at the short 
entertainment, in good humour. But eleven a.m. came very soon, 
in fact, it was nearly twelve a.m. when the sound of the cannon 
off the fort of Genoa was heard. So, with the thought of a speedy 
departure, I bade good-bye to the children and Sisters, who 
reluctantly descended the gangway to go into their boats. The 
waving of handkerchiefs was very brief, as, in the midst of the 
vessels that always lie in the port of Genoa, they soon disappeared 
out of sight. We were all called to table, and we feared that once 
away from the table we should feel the effects of the boat rocking, 
but the vessel was still immovable, being secured by immense 
anchors. We took advantage of these moments to put our cabins 

Genoa to Buenos Aires — December, 1900 


in order, but about four p.m. we asked why the boat had not set 
sail, and were told, to our great surprise, that not until the dawn 
of the next day would they raise anchor, as, owing to the bad 
weather, the men had not been able to work during the night, 
and so the cargo was not complete. I at once made up my mind 
to send a dispatch to our House in Genoa notifying them of our 
delay, and had hardly taken up my pen, when I perceived Mother 
Augustine and Mother Lucia, who, having gone to the U.S.A. 
agency to arrange for the prospective voyage of the Sisters, heard 
we were still in port. It was quite a wonder that they did not 
try to walk the waters to see us again. After having exchanged 
joyous feelings, I asked the Sisters to go and fetch the Reverend 
Mothers of the Convents of Codogno and Rome, and with the 
best of wills they went, only too happy to share their pleasure 
with the Community. Shortly after. Mother Augustine with the 
two Superiors appeared. The Captain, moved by the affection of 
the daughters for their Mother, said they could remain all night. 
The Sisters did not need to be asked twice, and so, though they 
will never have a Mission outside Italy, they passed at least a 
night on board ship. The consolation we experienced at being 
reunited that night, when to all intents and purposes we should 
have been separated, you may imagine better than I can describe. 

December 3rd. Feast of Saint Francis Xavier! What a great 
day! It seemed to me that we could not be better placed for 
keeping his Feast than on the ocean waves which this indefatigable 
Apostle braved so often, and, who, in such a few years, brought so 
many souls into the bosom of the Catholic Church. I will say 
nothing of the life of our dear and holy Patron, for you know it 
better than I, but I will ask you how it was that he became such 
a great Saint and worked with such tremendous zeal? Only 
because he remembered the words that Jesus Christ used to say 
to those whom He called to be His Apostles. You know these 
words so well. ''Sequere me—follow Me, and imitate My example.'' 
These beautiful and important words He said also to us, and, 
fortunately, we have listened to Him, and have given ourselves 
up to God with great generosity of heart, consecrating ourselves 
to Him in the Religious life. But everything is not yet complete. 
We have also to render ourselves perfect disciples in the school of 

198 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

Jesus Christ, reproducing in ourselves all the beautiful and precious 
virtues of the Divine Heart. Let us imagine we are like Saint 
Francis Xavier, and always keep our Divine Lord before us, be¬ 
holding His mild gravity. His quiet amiability, Flis unalterable 
evenness of temper. In thus copying his Divine Model, we shall 
see how he worked, walked, spoke and taught. Let us think of 
the perfection that accompanied every act, and let us force our¬ 
selves to imitate Him at all times and in every moment with the 
fidelity which is possible to us. 

This beautiful Feast Day we mostly passed in the port of 
Barcelona. We thought we were going to hear several Masses, 
as on December 2nd, but we ran the risk of not having even one, 
as nearly all the priests went on shore. However, the admirable 
Providence of God, Who watches over us, wished to console us 
by way of a special favour. The only priest who had arranged 
to celebrate on board, arose quite early to say Mass, as he intended 
going to visit the city after. But he could not find the key of 
the case in which he kept his sacred vestments. It happened 
that we had just got up, and met the priest at his wits’ end because 
of the lost key. He was, indeed, about to take breakfast. “No, 
Father,” I said, “look again and you will find it, because we want 
to hear Mass to celebrate the Feast of our Holy Patron.” So he 
went to make another search for it, and he found it where he 
least expected it, to his great joy. He said Mass at once, and we 
received Holy Communion and so completed our preparation of 
the previous evening. We regarded this as a pleasant surprise 
from our Holy Patron, who, from the beginning of our Missions, 
has never ceased to show his admirable generosity towards us. 
If you could only see the sea! How beautiful it is! It presents 
such a charming tranquility, and my two little companions, who 
suffered so much the first days, are as well as if on land. They 
eat, take walks on deck, work and perform all their acts of 
devotion, as if they were in the Convent. They are practising 
the Spanish language, so that when they arrive at the Missions, 
they may not be totally ignorant of the tongue spoken there. 
We are at table with Monsignor Isaza, Bishop Coadjutor of Monte¬ 
video, his Secretary and other priests, who know a little Italian 
and like to hear it spoken. They always speak in Spanish to us 
so that we may learn their tongue. The Bishop delights in speaking 

Genoa to Buenos Aires — December, 1900 


Italian to us, as he wishes us to enjoy the description he gives 
of his visits to the various Sanctuaries he has recently visited, and 
this, together with the news of these different countries, affords 
us a source of great pleasure. Even Bishop Romero always 
speaks Italian to us, and takes care of us like a father. From the 
beginning of the voyage, he did all in his power to obtain a separate 
cabin for me, but at the port of Barcelona a family came on board 
which had the number of my cabin. I thought, then, I should 
have to give it up and adapt myself to the circumstances and go 
with the Sisters, but he, without my knowing it, saw to the matter, 
and, before evening, came with the Captain to tell me they had 
given another cabin to the new passengers, and that No. 4 cabin 
would continue mine. Wonderful, indeed, it was, for a large 
number of passengers came on board at Barcelona. 

December Ath. Yesterday, at five p.m., the steamer raised anchor 
again. It was a great day for one incident or another, passengers 
coming on board, others leaving it, and others again coming to 
greet their friends. We expected to see no one, as the Sisters of 
Bilbao had so much to do in preparing for the first Mass which 
was to be celebrated on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. 
Nevertheless, a surprise awaited us, for about three p.m., on going 
to table for some refreshments, as is customary on this steamer, 
we saw two priests, who on account of their venerable appearance 
drew our attention. All looked and asked who these priests were. 
‘'Perhaps they are Jesuit Fathers,*’ was the exclamation. The 
inquirers turned to me also, but I said I knew no one in Bar¬ 
celona. In the meantime, the two priests came very near us to 
greet a lady, when one of the Fathers recognised me, and I 
recognised him at the same time exclaiming, “Oh, Father.” He 
almost re-echoed in the same voice, “Oh, Mother, are you here 
also?” He was the Provincial of the Scolopi whom I had met 
seven years previously when I went to Buenos Aires to establish 
the first foundation. He is a man of fervent spirit, and greatly 
aided me during my first difficult moments. The other was the 
Reverend F. Miracle, who was in very poor health when I saw 
him in Buenos Aires, but now appeared so well restored in health, 
that I had to look at him twice before I could recognise him. 
Then he went to find Reverend F. Terradas of the same Con- 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

gregation, who had just returned from Panama, where I met him 
six years ago. From him I had news of our Sisters of Panama, 
where they are suffering from the revolution and civil wars that 
have been going on for such a long time in poor Columbia, in 
addition to the diseases that affect the country, such as yellow 
fever, typhoid, small pox, and sometimes, though not so frequently, 
“La peste bubbonica.'* For three consecutive years they have 
suffered all these ills. But God’s wrath seems to be appeased 
now, though the war still continues. 

The admirable Providence of God has so far preserved our 
Sisters from all ills, and, besides being able to continue their work 
in the Academy, Schools and Catechism Classes, they also make 
scapulars of the Sacred Heart, with the word “Cease” on them, 
to give to the sick and the soldiers. The scapular works wonders, 
and every letter we get from our Sisters gives us news of the 
prodigies thus worked and obtained. Faith! What wonders it 
works! Many say that these people are superstitious and that 
their faith is not deep. But I say it is very good, and that their 
faith is rewarded with greater prodigies than elsewhere. They 
believe with simplicity, and this is one of the wisest qualities of 
the true believer. They are ignorant, it is true, but they have 
good reasons for their belief. God has infused the faith into 
their souls, and they show every goodwill to become instructed. 
No! The faith of the people is not to be despised. One may 
not be able to express why he believes, he may not know how to 
defend his belief, but he does know the reason of his faith. 
How many illiterate souls, by reason of the purity of their hearts, 
have raised themselves to God in sublime contemplation, thus 
showing that those mysteries that are superior to science and to 
the mind are not superior to the greatness of the human heart. 
No! The mind does not understand the mysteries of our Holy 
Faith, but the heart, that has the gift of faith, feels rather than 
understands that they are the mysteries of love. Yes! The 
Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, the Holy Eucharist are mysteries 
of a God of Love, of a God who is a Father to us. Brother, Victim 
and Food. These mysteries are proofs of an infinite love. The 
heart feels the truth because it must be infinitely loved. Oh, 
faith! Oh, Most Holy Religion, what great good you have brought 
to humanity! Appearing amidst the darkness of ignorance, you 

Genoa to Buenos Aires — December, 1900 


have crushed error, you have secured both for reason and for 
truth a place that they can never lose. 

December Sth, At dawn this morning we arrived at Malaga. 
The steamer stopped quite near the land, and all got out. So I, 
also, thought I would like to make a little visit to the town, and, 
as everyone was buying the raisins of Malaga to take to Buenos 
Aires, I also secured a box as a memento of the place. But I had 
better luck than the others who went into smart-looking shops to 
get theirs, where they had to pay more for the box than for the 
raisins. I, however, fixed my eye on a donkey which was descend¬ 
ing a near mountain, loaded with boxes of celebrated grapes of 
that mountain. In the evening everybody returned with their 
beautiful and elegant boxes, and I with my rustic box, which 
contained an abundance of raisins, and less costly. At table 
someone offered us a bottle of Malaga wine, and I, wishing 
to reciprocate, sent to the cabin to get one of the bottles that 
Mother Augustine had placed there. They asked if it was Malaga 
wine. “Yes,’’ I replied, “it is in Malaga.” They enjoyed the 
joke, drank the wine, and were surprised at its exquisite taste, 
particularly the Bishop of Montevideo. They could scarcely believe 
that such good wine came from Piedmont. 

December 6th. Whilst at supper, the steamer saluted Malaga, 
and very slowly steered towards Cadiz under a serene sky. The 
quiet sea and pleasing temperature seemed to be atmospheric 
conditions more suited to pleasure-seekers than to people going 
out to work on the Missions. Our good Jesus plays with us and 
treats us as children, always compassionating our weakness. It 
means that we ought to endeavour to be generous, if He wants 
to try us with bad weather, though we are inclined to think He is 
always going to give us good weather. Resigned, however, to 
the Heart of Jesus, resigned to everything that pleases His Most 
Holy Will, we feel greatly consoled and experience an anticipated 
Heaven. We arrived at Cadiz this morning at five a.m. The 
steamer stopped, and this made it easier for us to go to the chapel 
and hear Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion. We wanted 
to go ashore, but the steamer was too far from land, and I thought 
it better not to go, as I had not got over the cold which I caught 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

at Genoa while on deck saluting the Sisters. With the cure Fm 
using, my cold will soon be gone. Even here I am able to use 
the milk-cure, though the milk, of course, is not so fresh and tasty, 
as, on board, condensed milk is generally used. There was a time 
when I could not even bear to look at tinned milk, but forced by 
necessity to try it, I find it quite good. They told me it was even 
better than fresh milk, as it is like sterilized milk. 

December 7th, Yesterday so many new passengers came on 
board that we could scarcely move. The steamer is full and all 
the cabins are taken except one which the good Captain left for 
me. I have changed cabins as many times as we have found 
ports to stop at, because the new passengers who come on board 
have booked these particular cabins, and I have had to give them 
up, for they were mine through kind favour. To-day is the third 
time I have had to change in this way, just like those who go to 
Rome from the hundred cities, and change houses every month 
not to pay the rent. 

December 8th, This morning, before the break of dawn, the 
glimmering rays foretold that a bright light would arise to illumi¬ 
nate us with its splendour and raise our souls to noble and higher 
sentiments. So I could sleep no longer. It was the precious 
aurora of the day of the Immaculate Conception, and it seemed 
to me that the most meek Dove, our most pure Mother, had 
turned her gaze of special predilection to greet us amidst these 
wild waves, and with her voice, which carries away one's heart, 
invited us to rise and praise her and to put ourselves securely 
under the mantle of her maternal protection. Thinking of our 
dear Mother, I forgot all about fatigue. Going quickly to the 
chapel, we heard the first Mass. At the second we received Holy 
Communion in company with Maria Santissima, and so where we 
could not merit for ourselves, she, who is called the Immaculate, 
well merited for us. Oh, how beautiful is Mary Immaculate! God 
Himself created her worthy of Himself, all beautiful, all pure, all 
noble, all glorious! Oh, how beautiful is our Mother! The three 
Divine Persons love her singular majestic beauty. Mary is the 
greatest and the most glorious work which came from the hand of 
the Omnipotent, after the Most Holy Humanity of Jesus. Mary, 

Genoa to Buenos Aires — December, 1900 


amongst pure creatures, is the closest and most perfect image of 
God; the arm of God, the wisdom of God, the goodness of God are 
reflected with visible splendour in this privileged creature. She 
alone renders more glory to God than all the angels and saints 
taken together, and the fragrance of her virginal purity exceeds the 
purity of all the angels. ‘‘Tota pulchra es, Maria et macula origi- 
nalis non est in Te.'’ How beautiful is Mary! How amiable is this 
most noble creature! She is the manifestation of God on earth. 
Through her God will be known, adored, loved and blessed in the 
world, and so, rightly and in a special manner, Mary is the Mother 
of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart, who has for her scope the 
sublime mission of instructing her people in the knowledge and 
love of our Divine Redeemer, who, in the infinite goodness of 
His Divine Heart has deigned to call us to so sublime a vocation. 
What shall we fear, daughters, if Mary Immaculate, the pure Dove 
of God, is our Mother, our Refuge, our Hope, the cause of our 
joy? In God, dear daughters, let us put all our strength, our 
hope, as in their Principal Cause; in Mary as in their secondary 
cause. In God, as the prime cause of all good, of all graces. In 
Mary, as the salutary aqueduct through which we derive the 
most pure waters of His Divine Goodness and Mercy. To-day 
we had a number of Masses. I arose at four-thirty a.m., and at 
five a.m. I called the Sisters. I went immediately to the chapel 
for the priests had already begun to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice. 
After seven low Masses, we had a Solemn High Mass celebrated by 
the Auxiliary Bishop of Montevideo, who also gave a beautiful 
sermon on the Immaculate Conception and on the meaning of such 
a dogma, proclaimed by Pius IX, so great and so famous. He 
showed how strong the American people were in their belief in 
the Immaculate Conception, even before it was defined as a 
dogma, and dwelt on the sublime words of the Angel Gabriel who 
saluted Mary. ‘‘Hail, full of Grace.’’ She is, indeed, a singular 
Virgin, the Co-redemptrix of the human race, the true Mother of 
the living. In Mary everything is great, providential: the mission 
of Mary in the world has a character all its own. She is like a 
resplendent sun, her light is immensely powerful, her splendour is 
heavenly, her beauty is divine. Mary lived more in God than in 
herself. She was more where she loved than where she lived, 
and therefore her intellect was more limpid and clear than those 


Travels of Mother Franees Xavier Cabrini 

of the Seraphim, her will being fully conformed to the Divine 
Will. In her beautiful soul all is light, beauty and harmony. 
Her body is most pure, immaculate; her purity is angelic. She is 
most faithful, and abandons herself entirely to God; her intention 
is always pure and most perfect, her love of God most fervent. 
It was her strong, continual and interior love that made her surpass 
not only the love of all the Saints, but even that of all the Seraphim. 
Her humility was most profund, she always sought seclusion, and 
kept secret from everyone, and even from herself, her highest gifts. 
Her charity for her neighbour was like a sweet balsam; all the 
miseries of the world seemed to find a place in her heart so sweet 
and merciful by its very nature. And to-day, oh, daughters, what 
are we to say of the characteristics of Mary? Her innate inclina¬ 
tion is to diffuse everywhere her graces, to console all, to lead all 
to the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. Oh, how beautiful 
and majestic does Mary appear! She is truly the holy and mystical 
city of God whose glorious foundations are on the peaks of the 
most sublime mountains. But I should never finish talking of 
Mary, because everywhere we behold her beauty, her power and 
her majesty. Of her the sea speaks by its immense extent. The 
waters, with their blue and transparent colours which, like crystals, 
reflect the colours of the most precious, rare and resplendent stones, 
are in their mute language like an open book recording the virtues 
of Mary. I should be happy if I could raise your hearts and souls 
towards Mary, and infuse in you a strong hope, a firm trust and a 
true devotion to that sweet and most loving Mother. When your 
weaknesses tempt you, run to Mary, invoke Mary, look at this 
beautiful Morning Star, who by means of her splendour disperses 
all darkness. If you are in danger, if your hearts are confused, 
turn to Mary; she is our comfort, our help; turn towards her, 
and you will be saved. Follow her, and you will not mistake the 
road that leads to Heaven, for Mary is the Gate of Heaven, and 
you know it well, for you never tire of singing every evening, 
'Telix coeli porta.*^ Blessed are you, who follow with fidelity this 
beautiful devotion of singing every evening in praise of Mary, the 
Ave Maris Stella. I never, even on the sea, forget to render this 
pious praise to our most loving Mother. After dinner I go with 
Mothers Anna and Michelina to the far end of the deck, and there 
we give vent to our voices, and, uniting them with yours in spirit, 

Genoa to Buenos Aires — December, 1900 


we sing the Ave Maris Stella and say our prayers. Afterwards we 
enjoy ourselves by looking at the traces which this colossal steamer 
leaves behind it, as it cuts through the water so rapidly and so 
majestically. What a beautiful sight! 

December \0th. Yesterday was Sunday, and the Feast of the 
previous day was repeated. There were several Masses, and then 
a Solemn High Mass celebrated by Monsignor Romero, who ex¬ 
plained the Feast with that facility which is his particular gift. 
Speaking of the answer given by Jesus Christ to the disciples sent 
by John to ask if He were the expected Messiah, or if they were 
to await another, he dwelt on the last words, ‘‘and to the poor 
the Gospel is preached.'* Here he brought out the great energy 
with which Our Lord pronounced these words, giving to the poor 
more importance than He attached to the power to cure the lame, 
to give sight to the blind and life to the dead. From this, the 
preacher showed how necessary it was for the rich to take care 
of the poor, for masters to give time to their dependants to fulfil 
their religious duties and to have them instructed in the truths 
of our Holy Faith. Let us hope the forceful words of the Prelate 
did not fall on dry stony ground, for the attention and devotion 
with which the passengers and the staff assisted at the Holy 
Sacrifice of the Mass was really edifying. Mass was celebrated in 
the deck-salon where the passengers were, and underneath in the 
dining-room, where the whole ceremony could be seen. The Cap¬ 
tain, Officers and Crew assisted. It was a most inspiring sight, 
especially for myself, as it was the first time after twenty voyages, 
that I had the happiness of seeing Holy Mass celebrated on a 
steamer. Every evening, at seven p.m., a bell is rung for all to 
come and recite the Holy Rosary. The statue of Our Lady 
of Mount Carmel in the salon is uncovered. The Captain is 
always the first on the scene, and it is most edifying to see 
how fervently he prays. How good this Captain is! He is just 
like a father; he has a good word for everyone, no one asks 
him anything in vain. He comes every day to ask how we are 
and if we need anything. He is a man full of faith, observing 
God's law. He enjoys great peace of mind and communicates it 
to others, gently inducing them also by his example to observe 
the law of God, that law that has been imprinted on our souls by 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

the hand of the Most High. How sad it is to see those who, 
through their own fault, have allowed the darkness of incredulity 
to gather around them. 

We have occasion to feel great sorrow in seeing men who, after 
abandoning the Catholic Religion, after having rebelled against 
Jesus Christ, reach the precipice of Atheism, Pantheism and 
Materialism. 'There is no God,'' the first say. “There is no dif¬ 
ference between good and evil," the second say. “There is nothing 
better than to accumulate riches by all possible means, and to 
give way to pleasure," exclaim the last. By means of these 
insensate theories they have upset the world, and many have 
lost their own good sense and reason. From such errors have come 
all the misfortunes that affect the present and menace the future. 
Oh, daughters, let us render the homage of our fidelity and love 
to our most loving Jesus, Who with ineffable mercy has deigned 
to enrich us with all that is necessary to obtain our temporal 
and eternal felicity. We are the children of God. Let us try 
not to degenerate from such a high and sublime dignity, and let 
us see that our heart, our soul and our life be always and entirely 
consecrated to this merciful and good Father. Let us pray that 
we and all creatures may give glory to God in time and eternity, 
that His most holy law may reign and govern us and all men 
from one end of the Universe to the other. 

Now, we are all quite well. I never told you when I was not 
feeling well, but, now that it is all over, I may as well tell you. 
From Cadiz to Teneriffe I was obliged to sleep in the Sister's cabin, 
as there was not one unoccupied owing to the increase in the 
number of passengers. The Captain was very upset, and the 
Bursar, who at first seemed very indifferent, came and told me 
that as soon as a Colonel and his family disembarked at the Canary 
Islands, he would see that I was well accommodated. In fact, just 
as we arrived at the Canary Islands, at six p.m., they hurried to 
put the cabin in order for me. It is very nicely situated in that 
part of the steamer where the rocking is little felt, and there is 
a porthole to the west which I can open at pleasure. I have to 
keep it closed from four a.m. to seven a.m., as the sailors clean 
the ship during these hours and throw water about heedlessly. 
The water often enters through the portholes, and causes much 
inconvenience to those who are not expecting it. I always close 

Genoa to Buenos Aires — December, 1900 


the porthole before I go to bed, as I prefer to put up with the 
heat than to receive a surprise visit from a fish. I know the 
inhabitants of the Gulf Stream, but I am not too friendly with 
them. We had another stop in the Gulf of Santa Cruz off Teneriffe, 
just in front of the peak of the same name. When I studied 
geography as a child, which, together with history, I like better 
than all other subjects, and read of the peaks most celebrated 
for their height, I longed to see two especially, that of Miranda 
and that of Teneriffe. The first I thought I saw while going 
from San Sebastian to Bilbao, and from Bilbao to Victoria, which 
journey I liked very much. I was told, however, that it was not 
exactly there, and that I should have to go more to the west. If 
God spares me, I shall see it when I go through Spain, where they 
expect me on my return voyage. Now I shall see Teneriffe Peak 
at last, when approaching Santa Cruz. We perceived at first a 
beautiful mountain, cone-shaped, of a good height, and then other 
smaller ones of the same form. They looked like the Pyramids of 
Egypt. I almost thought I was passing through the Red Sea. 
It was a great joy to all the passengers to see such a beautiful 
sight. We longed for the steamer to stop, so that we might 
contemplate this grand panorama, not made by man but by the 
Hand of the Supreme Maker. Instead, the boat sailed on with 
an extraordinary rapidity. You would almost think it had taken 
wings and had become a flying fish, simply because our good 
Captain had promised to reach port before evening, and at any 
cost wanted to keep his word; so he increased the speed of the 
ship’s engines. In fact, we reached here just before the sun had 
entirely disappeared. As we arrived, the dinner-gong sounded 
and, though reluctantly, we had to go to table at once, so as not 
to keep Bishop Isaza, who presides at table, waiting, and also 
to be present at grace. Whilst we were dining, night came on as 
rapidly as it does in Central America, where twilight is unknown. 
There was no moon either, so we saw nothing. The Captain 
offered to take me ashore with the Custom officials, but as it was 
night, I did not accept the kind offer. We went on deck instead, 
and not far distant we could distinguish the Peak of Santa Cruz, 
which was lighted up with electric lamps, and we also saw some 
steamers which had either entered the port before us or were 
about to enter at the same time as ourselves. Amongst them was 

208 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

the Duke of Galliera, lovely in form and lighted up with a hundred 

I have never travelled on that steamer, but I have done so on 
the Victoria, a sister ship of the same Company. Of this vessel, 
there remains only the wreck near Genoa after the disaster of 
1898, when it was destroyed by fire. Its passengers were fortu¬ 
nately all saved, as well as the crew, by seeking shelter on the 
Alicante, Five of our Sisters were the last to leave the ship at 
the Captain’s bidding, who did all in his power to save it. The 
fire took place in a cargo of sulphur, which it was impossible to 
extinguish. That terrible disaster might have taken place in mid¬ 
ocean, where rescue would have perhaps been impossible, but the 
loving Providence of God, Who watches over His creatures, did 
not allow such a tragedy to happen. Our Sisters had with them 
relics of Saint Vitallione, and the Holy Martyr showed the power 
of his protection by rescuing everyone from danger, together with 
the cargo, except the sulphur. The disaster was caused by 
some youngsters having hidden themselves in the hold in order 
to have a free passage. They had not the means to pay for 
their passage, but they did harm to themselves and to others. It 
occurred to me to tell you this, because on the steamer Alphonsus 
XIIL, on which we are travelling, there were hidden seven youths, 
from eighteen to twenty years of age, who took advantage of the 
night during which we stopped at Cadiz. But the good Captain 
and the Bursar, who are wide awake, and interest themselves in 
everything, found them as soon as we left port and imprisoned 
them. When we arrived at the Canary Islands, they were handed 
over to the custody of the police at Santa Cruz of Teneriffe to be 
sent back at the first moment to Spain, where they will be cross- 
examined as to whether they sought a free passage because they 
were unable to defray the expense, or because they had committed 
some crime and were flying from justice. The two Bishops, 
Monsignor Romero and Monsignor Isaza, as soon as they knew 
the unfortunates were imprisoned, went to the Captain to obtain 
their liberty. It was not difficult to obtain some clemency from 
this good Captain—Captain Decampa. The good Prelates, in the 
meantime, gave them some money which alleviated a little the 
merited punishment. 

That evening after dinner we found a store opened on the 

Genoa to Buenos Aires — December, 1900 


deck as if by magic. It had been arranged by some young men 
from the Canary Islands, who came on board to sell wicker chairs, 
small and large, and so nice that everyone was tempted to buy 
one. They also offered shoes, laces, embroidery, silk shawls, 
woollen vests, etc., and they did a good business, for the passengers 
bought lots of things. A lady wanted me to help her, so I chose 
one I liked, a table-centre, very well made. What was my surprise 
when I found out that the lady had bought it to make a present 
of it to me w’hen I call on her in her own house. I shall not tell 
you the name of this lady now, but later on I shall have to speak 
of her, as she intends to do something great for the Institute. As 
soon as the lady had satisfied her purchasing propensity, we with¬ 
drew from the market, for we could not remain amidst such 
confusion. In the morning we got up with the desire of going on 
deck to enjoy the wonderful sights of these mountains, but we had 
first to go to the chapel to hear Holy Mass and to receive Holy 
Communion. The Masses succeeded one another, and we heard 
them all on behalf of the souls of Purgatory, and so the time grew 
late. The steamer raised anchor, steaming at a great rate, so 
much so, that when we went on deck we were a great distance 
from land, and only the top of the Peak of Teneriffe could be seen. 
It appeared to follow us with all the majesty for which it is 
renowned. It has a very pointed peak like the peak of a volcano 
not yet fully open, and on either side of the slopes there extend, 
in the shape of a tail, other mountains which seem to be its off¬ 
spring. This is a feature of volcanoes, which nearly always have 
other mountains dependent on them, and in whose prominence, 
it would appear, they find vent. 

On the day after we had left the Canary Islands, the luggage 
was placed on deck to satisfy the requirements of the passengers, 
so that they might get what they wanted. Those who embarked 
at Genoa were the last served, as their luggage was down at the 
bottom of the hold. However, when the bell rung for dinner, I 
asked the Head Steward to please watch for my trunks as I wanted 
to open them. The man told me I could rest assured, as he would 
see to them. When I came up, lo and behold, the man told me 
he had seen to all my trunks, and had sent them down again. 
Whether I had not explained myself sufficiently, or whether he 
had misunderstood me, I do not know, but he thought he had 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

done me a great service. I said, ‘‘My good man, I wanted to open 
them.” At this stage the Bursar came forward and asked me if 
I would like to go down to open them, which offer I accepted at 
once, but in the short intervening space of time they had piled 
up so many on top of mine, that it was impossible to see them, 
much less to open -them. Several sailors offered to remove the 
great pile in order to extract mine, but I hadn’t the heart to make 
them go through so much trouble and fatigue, so I contented 
myself with my small state room trunk, lending the Sisters some 
of my own clothes. Providence, which watches over us like a 
loving mother, kept the weather cool. All had thought that the 
heat would be suffocating, especially near the Equator, and for 
some hours it was indeed such. But the rest of the voyage was 
more of a pleasure trip than a tiring voyage. 


Buenos ^.y^lre6 to ^enoa 
-^u^ust, 1901 

A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

From the Bay of Buenos Aires, 

August 22nd, 1901. 

My dear Daughters, 

May the good Jesus be with you all and comfort 
you. May He accompany us on your voyage 
and conduct us to port. Amen. 

Nel Cuor dolcissimo 
D'immenso amore 
lo voglio chiudermi 
In tutte Tore; 

Da Lui vo^ attingere 
Pace e conforto 
Ch* Ei fara scendere 
Nel mare e in porto. 

We embarked on the 22nd of August, but I have not begun to 
write until to-day, the 28th, when we have just left the port of 
Santos. The day I left Buenos Aires I was not feeling well, and 
your farewell and that of the children had really overcome me, 
and I remained in this exhausted state for a good while. Having 
said good-bye to the three Sisters who were at the farthest end of 
the bay, I went to my cabin and to bed. My bones were stiffened 
with pain, and I hadn’t the strength to move the smallest object. 
I wanted to put my cabin in order, but I had to leave it as it was, 
for I could not stand. Two days later I felt better, and well 
enough to go ashore at Santos, though it was raining. I asked 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

the way to the church, and those whom I interrogated wanted to 
know if I was looking for the ‘‘Igreja/’ I was afraid of being 
directed to some schismatic church, so said ‘‘No,” and went on. 
On asking others I got the same reply, so at last I understood 
that the word meant Catholic Church. Some offered to go with 
us to the Parish Church, which they call the Mother Church. 

When we arrived at the church we found Solemn High Mass 
just beginning, accompanied by drums and trumpets, which took 
the place of an organ or harmonium, neither of which the church 
possessed. In the meantime we asked a priest to give us Holy 
Communion at the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament, and thus 
comforted by the Food of Angels, we returned to the steamer, sure 
of a happy and properous voyage. It was raining, and we got 
quite wet. Had it not been that we wished to receive Holy Com¬ 
munion, we should not have gone ashore at all. We had two 
umbrellas, but when we reached the church that of my companion 
would not close, so we left it open without any one taking the 
least notice of it. One good man turned to me and said, “It is 
our curate who is celebrating Mass; he is very good and we love 
him very much.” He spoke to me in Portuguese, and I understood 
him fairly well, as it is a language which, one might say, comes 
midway between the Italian and Spanish languages. I could do 
nothing else but congratulate him. When we had finished our 
devotions, we went to the sacristy to ask the curate's blessing. 
He received us with singular kindness. He wanted to entertain 
us longer, but we had no time, so said good-bye, accompanied 
by his blessing, which seemed like that of a patriarch. I wanted 
to visit the town, but there was no carriage to be had, so we 
returned at once on board. 

The steamer then departed, and in two hours' time we reached 
Rio Janeiro. It was about two p.m., and I should have loved to 
visit the town, but the steamer stood out a great distance from 
the land. Moreover, the sea, as usual in this place, was very 
rough, so I thought it better not to undertake the double journey 
there and back, especially as I wanted to go and receive Holy 
Communion the next morning, which I did not want to miss. 
The captain had told me they would remain in port until the 
following day at two p.m., so the next morning we went on shore 
as soon as possible. They had offered me the ship's boat, but I 

Buenos Aires to Genoa—A ugust, 1901 


should have had to wait until eight a.m. So I decided to hire a 
boat, trusting to the Providence of God to carry me safely through 
the agitated waves and over a distance lasting half-an-hour. In 
fact, we reached land quite safely, and turned towards the first 
steeple we could see. We lost sight of it, however, as we passed 
through the narrow streets and between the houses. So we asked 
for the “Igreja,’' having learnt the name at Santos, and everyone 
with great kindness pointed out the way to us. We entered the 
first church we saw; it was called the Candelaria; it is beautiful, 
rich and kept in great cleanliness. The altars are of very fine 
coloured marble. On the High Altar there is a statue of Our Lady 
with the Infant Jesus. This Madonna is called Our Lady of the 
Candelaria or Purification. I took pleasure in counting the candle 
sticks on the High Altar, which were grand and in the form of a 
pyramid, and were placed at the foot of Our Lady. They were 
fifty-two in number. Perhaps the number had some meaning, 
but, not knowing the language, I was unable to ask why the 
candlesticks should be fifty-two in number. As soon as we entered 
the church we went to the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament which 
was along the nave of the church, next to the High Altar. Above 
it hung a majestic, monumental Crucifix, under which was a paint¬ 
ing of Calvary. Several Canons were reciting the Office, and 
two altar boys were seated near the Canons. I called one to tell 
him that I wanted to receive Holy Communion. He spoke to one 
of the Canons, who answered that the Office would last two hours, 
during which no one could receive Holy Communion. I could 
not wait, so I asked the boy to show me the way to another 
church, which he did very willingly. Saluting the Blessed Sacra¬ 
ment, I was just on the point of leaving when I met a priest and 
told him I should like to receive Holy Communion, but that I 
could not wait for two hours, and would he please show me the 
way to another chuch? ‘‘No, no.’' he said, “stay here. I am going 
to say Mass at which you can receive Holy Communion.” In 
fact, as quickly as he could, he came and celebrated Mass at the 
second altar of the church—the Altar of the Sacred Heart which 
was beautiful also. As the lovely benches of the church did not 
reach so far down as this altar, the sacristan came forward with 
two lovely cushions for us to kneel upon. I was astonished at 
so much kindness, but it was in keeping with the dignity of the 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

whole place that great courtesy should be shown to visitors. Hav¬ 
ing made our thanksgiving and had a look round the church, we 
went out, and as my companion and I were now very hungry, 
I sought a cafe where we appeased our hunger, and then, taking 
a cab, we visited the town, which is partly built on hills. We 
went to that part called Saint Anna, as they told us the Papal 
Legate resided here, but, meeting a priest, he told us the Legate 
was at Petropolis. We lost no time, and descending halfway, 
we met the Vicar General, who asked us at once if we had seen 
the Bishop. ‘‘No,’' I said, “for I did not know he lived here, 
and I have no time to go back.” I gave him my visiting card to 
present to the Bishop. He took it very kindly, said he would 
present it at once to the Bishop, and that he would ask for a 
special blessing for the prosperous continuation of my voyage. I 
felt very sorry I could not return, but there was no time. From 
this grand hill you can see the whole town and the bay. I should 
have loved to go to Petropolis, but it was three hours distance 
by rail, so there was no possibility of my going. Rio Janeiro is 
really beautiful! I like its smiling hills, its spacious squares and 
pretty gardens. I shall say nothing of the churches, as you have 
an idea after my description of the Candelaria. The Canal which 
enters the bay of Rio Janeiro is charming. What beautiful cone- 
shaped mountains! One of these owing to its shape is called the 
“Sugar Loaf.” These and others are so formed that they seem 
to rain abundance on the country. Even at Santos the same 
impression is made, though Santos is not so much favoured by 
nature. It is simply a road to St. Paul, which city everyone 
praises for its beauty. Brazil is certainly richer than the Argen¬ 
tine. They say it is not healthy, but I think that applies only 
to the lower and marshy parts of the town, which, if cleansed 
and put in order, would not suffer from contagious diseases. 
There are some very narrow and dirty streets in Rio Janeiro, 
and the water which runs in the gutters, instead of cleansing like 
water does in the streets of Paris, rather helps to infect the town, 
for it looks more like slush. 

At Buenos Aires the superintendent of the “Veloce” Company 
had given us two lovely cabins, one for the Sisters and one for 
myself, opposite each other and in the best possible position, as 
they were on the west side of the steamer, where one never 


Buenos Aires to Genoa — August, 1901 

feels the contrary winds. We could always keep our portholes 
open and always have fresh air. At Santos a large number of 
new passengers came on board. The steamer was quite full, and 
there was no more room, but some recommended by the super¬ 
intendent and others by influential persons, managed to get on 
board, and thus passengers in excess of the proper number were 
accepted. I feared a little, but, as our tickets were endorsed 
‘'Reserved Cabins,*^ I remained tranquil. The day was almost 
over when I perceived the Doctor approaching me. On behalf 
of the Commander he made a request. He said I had every right 
to refuse the favour about to be asked, but, as it was a very 
special case, he wanted to know if I would allow a lady, the wife 
of a chemist of Saint Paul, a Venetian, to sleep in the same cabin 
with the Sisters; she was travelling for family reasons only, and 
her husband asked as a favour that she might be placed near the 
Sisters. He made the request so courteously that it was impossible 
to refuse him, and so I consented. And I am not sorry that I 
did so, for the lady is very good, courteous and refined, so much 
so, that one finds pleasure in her company. One would think she 
formed part of the Community herself, everyone admires her and 
respects her. 

After we left Rio Janeiro, the sea was very rough or "bravo,’’ 
as the Spaniards say; indeed, it was so agitated that one would 
think it was really "bravo” (angry). At night, especially, it 
frightened me, as it was the first time I ever made such a long 
voyage on such a small steamer as The Piemonte, When we left 
Buenos Aires we were never tired of praising it, as it did not make 
the slightest movement, but since it took on board a cargo of 
twenty thousand sacks of coffee at Santos, it has never given us 
a moment’s peace. It may have been the wind or the cargo, but 
the fact remains that since that day the rocking never ceased, and 
so momentous was it that one expected the steamer to capsize at 
any moment. Not being an experienced sailor, I thought my fear 
was justified, but the day after I asked the Captain, and all my 
fear disappeared. Other disasters might happen, he said, but not 
the capsizing of the boat. The Captain said the worst disaster of 
all was fire, but, he added, that even in the case of fire there 
were many ways of saving oneself, the boat being built in such 
a way that it could be isolated into three separate parts in case 
of such a danger arising. 

JU .. J \ O .Tl' ■ *' 

’ ^ .^^*lTi>cl .. .'V". ^ ^.,.--,:iii 

*it£» !:..'*;i r rv •Ji* ~ ••' - ' •‘'V.- -- 'i 

' - ■• i!; "(U ' f Tl : *-•: : . ’* ■ ' * ^ ' 

• : UTij 'i'. ra ,'Mv r.y, '.*. y. ' . ' •/-i'--’ ^ ^ 

-:'*:![ Jl<rU- H»7"; »':! ^ . .•• 'i * ■ ‘ " ' r * 

» >it;f^!*r- .<r: •:. i' • : '••. 

J:.^ fUB v-!' .^i V '-.1 , v-:l. -» . ^ ‘ 

i.'-’i .*’'•? ^-.’t'-'i m"- : 

'M • ''-/hf’.r*' I '• •' h' 

Vf;- J> z!^ :^i<:J .'o.-fu .r •..•'■ •' ■ . - ’ : = 1 : ’ 

•’:■*'* ^i : v’M * j: l>i1 ^ •;/.•< ’ j ,’'::i:' .'-' •‘’_ • Jii-* 

ii:b!r.» '-r.ic ni 0 ; ».■ •" ' • »> •’ ■ ''j % ’v 

iitii: . ■ *fi:. yi 7 ':f:uU iv.l ■ .,’ -*'' '\U 

!3»: 7£.*ii ; 5 91^'^ :r ': i.f’Wn; ^ I \ . 

->5 V ' .fv.'] -•. . ': -j i.:tv .-i*:)! < 

^ n>f<i '•.'•» Jtii i iffi/. ^’‘7 fi»'li'"'.» I '•? ‘ n*. .rijiii i'i yt 

: uctt A^ .h:ip'*i'>: hnc iUtr^Tin'O <7iv -' vi*fl y !.- > ! */’- ! i 

rj; ')Il; <> *>nO 15 >fi !!;’ ^71!'. * • '• i-ll ' 

: - ‘in.-i n,'-t,'iiirrmrtio . * :l; '<: h^nr'': 

a’** 7u il'^JjOT v*w /«;.• / ' .1 .t* ' J\' 

blwy\ !vt^> ;.: o- ft /n^rntl r:y^. ;ui.‘ 

If /.':l b‘ic;Ht 2 1 .'. - z'^r" •*' ■f.v ji Jfy-br 

r *>bi:iii Tiv:? 1 ?.*;/! i?n!] s^'-v 71 y.n . nn ’ 

Vyy\ yu /raiiV.* ‘ V '(sfc- m* '* 

n.J *J 

i r . .! I>ib j’ c.ij ,!• :;|iU2:iiiiq V) i- 

L!-> / 

:».I » 

;!i-> u M*vwi no >'• t! ti 'i-sci:- tmf ' 

'r* a J’nA.'J .‘i’: 

» 7’i/*)n ' j: .sotnuc Jr, t> >Tfn 



9!iJ m f>n'.v ffO'id ^ ; ' 

■n;:ii iJ .n 

.#MK| 8 Jn^JitU; ! r 

f-* c!f.J7 ? ■*>-: *;'h 

; •UA Ji.-'M 

-‘tiii/dJi 171,: 

?C’ nj norn. *rf, !;'»i ' i 

> :r 1 ); 

'^f Mi*» 1 


: .. I ,lo[«rr !o>! » . . 

;• Vfir ■ 1* 

»/' /n'lrvi /pCt. 


Uii j>n*. ^ni:xq»;'} 0f<: i ivTis 

'.•;!» vilt ];;•* ’ .•'\ 


in«! -j;! ^cnqq;; ! 

i lur'jTj . 

.I-v /J-■’r.*) 

i .» »- 

♦-;*ju’/7 tJih tvjia rff“Jcjr/ *i 

1-. :^f7!‘;i^ 

^ *j:(i m fm j :?Arlf 


i-f *‘. .'iu 

ri'j. '-• 

r r '!ii;'i Jr^»d .1 i*m:v . » 

aivj.-v ’ • * 

•/r’Z v:T«f': 


! , 'Ktif/i '•.:!’ ‘'vr. ’ 

' '■ ’ '^t '*’.■' 

j; ‘ 

jiAcn- i 

I'tv in :; 1 Y': 

.vi - 




A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

My dear Children, 

August 23rd, 1902. 

Oh! quanti bei manipoli, 

Che sparsi son nel campo 
Senza temer inciampo, 

Con Dio raccogliero. 

Mon mi sgomenta il viaggio, 
Neppure la procella; 
Sempre da buona ancella 
L’ufficio mio faro. 

Gesul quel caro Dio 
Mi accende in fondo al core 
II palpito d'amore 
Spronandomi ad oprar. 

Su dungue, figlie care, 
Sempre per me pregate, 

II divin Cuore amate 

Che il cuor puo inebbriar. 


On board the Etruria, of the Cunard Line, my thoughts fly to 
you, my beloved children; you, who afford me so much comfort, 
and, though I am tired and worn out, nevertheless I write you, 
for I know you are anxious to have some news, and it is a great 
pleasure for me to satisfy your desires. 

I arrived in London on August the 5th, after having visited 
our House in Paris, which, like a steamer guided by a good pilot, 
is spreading its sails and navigating prosperously in the midst of 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

the terrible storm that at this moment is agitating all Religious 
Institutes in France, causing them great consternation. I could 
not have done otherwise, for this brave Pilot, this Omnipotent 
Pilot, is the Heart of Jesus of Montmartre, to whom I confided 
in a special manner our interests in France. From the height of 
that happy hill, where He is honoured. He benignly looks at His 
children and defends them from the wild billows that assault and 
threaten to destroy all that savours of Religion; in a word, every¬ 
thing animated by God's charity. It is a real miracle that the 
House still exists. The Sisters near us, and even the Sisters of 
Charity have been sent away from the schools. They could not 
get the better of their enemies, though the people rose up to defend 
them, guarding their houses night and day. We, as foreigners, 
have few friends in France, and I did not ask even these few 
to defend us, but I placed all my confidence in that sweet and 
amiable Sacred Heart of Montmartre, Which in the end is destined 
to save the whole of France, and will cause to arise from this 
storm much good and new fervour that will render France worthy 
of her honourable traditions. 

So, on the 5th I left Paris, and taking the line Calais and 
Dover, arrived in London. It was a fine day, but a greater sight 
still presented itself to my vision on my arrival as the sun went 
down. A sight I had never seen before appeared playfully in 
the heavens. Some clouds resplendent with gold formed a glorious 
throne, in the midst of which shone forth an extraordinary light, 
surrounded by twelve shining stars which sent forth sparkling 
rays. It seemed to be the throne of the Queen of Angels. I then 
saw Our Blessed Lady wearing a beautiful diadem, with the Child 
Jesus on her knees stretching His Arms out in the act of protecting 
us. Though it was but the playful movement of the clouds at 
the setting of the sun in England, its happening just as we reached 
London gave us great pleasure, and it seemed to augur a special 
protection from Heaven over our foundation in London. My two 
companions, Mothers Flora and Albertina, were very enthusiastic 
about this beautiful vision. At the station we were met by two 
Sisters, who had been sent in advance to secure accommodation 
for us, as owing to the approaching ceremonies of the Coronation 
of King Edward and Queen Alexandra, it was difficult to find 
lodgings in the great metropolis, where there were already as- 

London to Nezv York — Angnst, 1902 


sembled representatives from every part of the world. In fact, 
the two Sisters found us a place with the Servite Nuns, with whom 
we remained a fortnight; and in the meantime we visited His 
Lordship, Monsignor Bourne, Bishop of Southwark, who, like a 
good friend of our Institute, opened the way for us, so that in a 
short time w^e were able to find a house on one of the hills of 
London, and in a big parish where as yet there was no Religious 
House, thus offering good field for us. I wrote to the Propaganda 
to obtain the decree required for a foundation in England, and got 
the answer very quickly, so that when we entered our new convent 
we could say that the House was established with full ecclesiastical 

The morning of the 23rd was very rainy and we had to leave 
about ten a.m. We set out to take the twelve a.m. train for 
Liverpool. You may ask why it took so long to go to the station, 
but you would not be surprised if you were in London and saw 
the vastness of this metropolis. If you take a cab for an hour's 
journey, it is always wise to set out two hours in advance, as the 
traffic of London is so great, that you never know when you will 
reach your destination. 

At twelve a.m. we boarded the train, which flew through towns 
and fields at such a speed that at four p.m. we arrived without a 
stop at Liverpool. We left the train to embark at once on the 
Etruria, In a very short space of time she raised her anchors 
and rapidly set out towards Ireland. The next morning we arrived 
at Queenstown, Cork, where the steamer stopped for half-an-hour 
only to take on board passengers, vegetables and fruit, and then 
set sail at once, so that in a few hours time we were already on 
the high seas. My companions were quite well, but after break¬ 
fast on the 24th they began to suffer from stomach trouble, and 
for the whole day they had to keep to their cabins on account of 
sea sickness. Mother Flora thought she was really going to die. 
Mother Albertina acted the same way. I sent them to bed, and 
there was no way of getting them up again. It was only this 
morning about eleven a.m. that they seemed to get the better 
of the sea. To-day the good little Sisters, persuaded that the 
sea was all right, have come on deck to enjoy the fresh air, and 
are feeling better. The sea is not so bad, but it is a little rough 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

and choppy, producing that rocking which is trying to those who 
are not accustomed to the sea, and who do not love, as I do, the 
sea like the fish. I feel better when there is a little movement, 
and storms seem to give me an appetite. God tempers the wind 
to the shorn lamb.'' He has made me, in the goodness of His 
Divine Heart, a Missionary, and has confided to me far-distant 
Missions, and though I have habitual ill-health, I feel better at sea. 

But in the meantime I fly to you in spirit, rejoicing greatly at 
seeing you gathered together to carry out the Spiritual Exercises 
for the Annual Retreat. ‘‘I will conduct my beloved into the 
solitude, and there I will speak to her heart." Blessed are you, my 
dear daughters, who hear the voice of your Beloved, Who helps 
you to appreciate more and more the sublimity of the Religious 
state to which, through the sheer goodness of Our Lord you 
have been called. Oh, yes, the Missionary of the Sacred Heart 
bears the seal of God, and proves to all that her election to such 
a state comes not from nature but from grace. His Divine Will, the 
extension of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, is all that concerns us, 
so that the luminous and glorious motto of the Missionary of the 
Sacred Heart is always and everywhere—''All to the greater glory 
of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus," and in difficulties, "Omnia 
possum in Eo qui me confortat." Always appreciate the great gift 
God has given you by calling you to Holy Religion. He alone, the 
Master elects, calls and destines His Creatures to the noble state, 
the high dignity of becoming His Spouses. Yes! God alone, 
through His Divine goodness, chooses for His glory a weak, fragile 
creature. No, it is not nature that can claim supernatural graces and 
gifts of grace, but the goodness and benignity of God, who raises 
nature to a celestial life. It is not nature that renders herself supe¬ 
rior to her strength, but Divine Grace which condescends to human 
weakness and thus manifests the absolute authority of God over 
us, while it discloses again His infinite mercy and goodness by 
raising us poor human creatures to the Divine nuptials. Dear 
children! it is only by an ineffable condescension that God deigns 
to strengthen our fragile clay, to sanctify it, to purify it, and to 
render it capable of becoming a precious instrument in the Re¬ 
ligious House, in the Church, both Militant and Triumphant. At 
the end of the Retreat you will have the good fortune of renewing 
your vows. This renewal is a new promise of a sincere and gen- 


London to New York — August, 1902 

erous offering which we make to our Divine Spouse, and it is a real 
glory to be dedicated and consecrated to Him. To renew our 
vows is to renew our Profession, to offer to the Lord the new 
fruits of the same tree, and to burn on the same Altar of our heart 
new grains of incense, in the odour of sweetness, to the Divine 

By the renewal of our vows we confirm ourselves in good, 
increase our fervour in piety and devotion, make ourselves more 
energetic in the discharge of our duties, cling more closely to the 
most amiable Heart of Jesus, love more tenderly the Institute to 
which we have been called. This renewal recalls to our minds the 
immense benefits received, and enriches us with new benefits, new 
graces, new blessings and new merits. By the renovation of our 
vows we cancel our faults, negligences, omissions and all the im¬ 
perfections we have committed, whether they be against our vows 
or against the Holy Rules. It not only cancels and destroys in us 
these stains, but strengthens all our acts of virtue. Oh! what an 
immense benefit does the renewal of our vows bestow 1 

Every time we renew our vows, it is as if we just then and there 
took our holy vows or made our Profession, increasing again and 
again the glory of God and our merits. All works that refer to 
God directly never become old; our most loving Lord is His infinite 
goodness always looks upon them with that same complacency with 
which He regarded them when they were performed for the first 
time. In every work God always considers our will, which should 
be always firm, constant and persevering in serving Him faithfully 
until death, just as we promised on the day of our Profession. 

How this, my dear daughters, should animate us to frequently 
renew the act of our total consecration to God, or, at least, every 
time we go to Holy Communion 1 

How much it helps us to remember our first Profession made at 
the end of the Noviciate! Do you remember it? What a grand 
day! It was really the day of the Lord! 

‘'Haec dies quam fecit Dominus; exultemus et Isetemur in ea.'’ 
At that moment we experienced how lovely it was to consecrate 
ourselves to God, and how Jesus had been awaiting us so long. 
We tasted the ineffable sweetness of the Religious life. Our souls 
were filled with gifts typical of a new Baptism, all of Divine fire. 
The joy of the Holy Ghost, that so abundantly inundated our 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

souls on the day of our Confirmation, copiously filled our hearts 
with celestial joy on the day of our first Profession. On that 
solemn and never-to-be-forgotten occasion we drank large draughts 
from the Most Holy Wounds of the Divine Redeemer. The 
heavens lowered themselves and approached the earth. The Divine 
Lamb, in the extreme amiability of His Divine Heart, exulted 
with joy at celebrating with us the mystical Espousals. Remem¬ 
ber always, dear daughters, that our Espousal with Jesus was 
the work of the Holy Ghost, Who united us with our dear Jesus 
when we pronounced our Religious Vows. At that moment we 
felt ourselves raised up to a new power of the knowledge and 
love of our dear Jesus. The books of the Incarnate Wisdom were 
disclosed to our intellectual eyes, and then it was we understood 
new truths, new doctrines regarding our Religious Vocation and 
our special Mission, predestinated to eternal glory, through the 
observance of our vows. Then it was we entered the Promised 
Land. Divine Grace opened out to us its treasures, and we 
received from our beloved Spouse full faculties with which to 
enrich ourselves at our pleasure. Regenerated on that holy day 
into a holy and blessed new life, we were by a celestial wave 
purified by Divine Grace, sanctified and reformed. We became 
new creatures, living images of our Creator; in a word, on that 
memorable day we were sealed by the Hands of God as His 
inheritance and property, now and forever. But what merits had we 
that we should be favoured to enter the House of God? On the 
contrary, how many demerits that should have excluded us! 
Nevertheless the good Jesus did not look at our unworthiness, 
but only at His own Infinite Goodness. He really loved us, and 
did good to us, introducing us into His Holy House, sharing with 
us all His treasures. 

Do you remember, daughters, the vision of Jacob? Whilst 
journeying, he saw a ladder that reached from earth to Heaven, 
and the Angels were ascending and descending upon it. Awak¬ 
ing, he exclaimed, ‘This is the Plouse of God, the Gate of 
Heaven, and I did not know.’’ 

The passage from the Religious Community to Heaven is very 
short. Oh, blessed, a thousand times blessed, are those who live in 
the House of the Celestial Father, because they will praise and 
glorify Him for all eternity. 

London to Nciv York — August, 1902 


Remember, however, dear daughters, that it is not enough to 
live in a holy land to be holy; rather, it is necessary to live 
saintly, according to the Rules, and in the actual exercise of virtue. 
One cannot be called holy who merely l^elongs to a family of Saints, 
if he does not walk in the footsteps of the Saints. Our Divine 
Master, our most loving Spouse Himself, tells us so, ‘‘Not those 
who say Lord, Lord, shall enter Heaven, but those who do the 
Will of My Father.'’ And what is the will of our Celestial Father 
in our regard? We have to comply with His Will expressed in 
the Holy Rules, in our Holy Vows, and in other obligations proper 
to the Institute. 

If you want to become Saints, dear daughters, you must esteem 
your Holy Rules and regard the observance of them as the price 
of your eternal predestination. Be prudent virgins, always keep 
your lamps lighted with faith and the fulfilment of the laws pro¬ 
fessed. Be faithful, and observant, both in the greater and the 
minor Rules, for the most loving Jesus has prepared for you 
incalculable riches. 

Remember always, dear daughters, that the Holy Rules are like 
a precious treasure which the loving Jesus gives His Spouse, so 
that she may grow continually in merit and in virtue. They are 
an inexhaustible mine of graces and blessings. They are fountains 
from which gush forth the perennial waters of life and salvation. 
They are the mystical chains of the solid gold of charity which are 
like sweet ties ever drawing us closer to our most loving Saviour. 
In the observance of the Rules, you will find, my daughters, a 
superhuman strength to combat and to conquer all your enemies; 
you will find peace, joy and all spiritual riches. If you become 
really observant, you can say in truth you have found every good. 
In your Holy Rules only does your perfection consist, and in vain 
will you look for your sanctification outside of the road traced for 
us by the Holy Ghost. Remember that every point of the Rule 
has an immense importance for you, and it is for this reason I 
always exhort you to be ever faithful in both greater and minor 
regulations. Remember the story of Samson, whose strength was 
in the hair of his head. When his hair was cut by Delilah, he 
became weak and fell into the hands of his enemies. This fact 
teaches us clearly that all the strength of a Religious is in the 
observance of the Rules, even the minutest; figured by the hair. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

When a Religious forgets or despises the observance of the 
Rules, she loses the vigour of her spirit, her strength, her virtue, 
and then falls into the hands of her enemies, who are ever 
ready for her ruin. If our Holy Rules do not bind under pain of 
sin, except when they are despised, it is nevertheless true that 
every voluntary transgression, however small, is a disorder in 
God's House, and inflicts a new wound on holy observance. More¬ 
over, it is a lack of correspondence with Divine grace, a sorrow 
to the Most Adorable Heart of our most loving and sweet Jesus; 
it is a degree of grace and glory lost. Saint Teresa was right in 
exhorting and inculcating the exact and minutest observance of 
the Holy Rules and time-table, because the diligent and observant 
Religious will not only walk in perfection, but will fly along the 
path of good, and in a short time will find herself rich in virtue 
and merits. 

27th. It is already the 27th August, and since last night the 
fog-horn has been continually sounding, as there is a dense fog, 
and there is danger of our meeting other steamers, which might 
mean a great disaster. In spite of all this, the Sisters and I 
slept quietly, reposing in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, who, 
through our Superiors, has sent us on this voyage, assuring us 
that He would be our Pilot, our Guide, our sure Refuge. At 
seven-thirty we left our cabin, but owing to the dampness and 
fog we could not remain on deck, so we went to the music-room, 
and each one did her own work there. Mother Flora painted a 
pretty card for the Captain who was so kind to her. Mother 
Albertina copied music and went through some pieces, and I 
finished my letter to you, speaking to you, my beloved daughters 
of the observance of the Holy Rules which will make you holy 
and blessed. 

At nine a.m. we went to table for breakfast, but the Captain, 
who always goes also when we go, is not with us this morning, as 
he has to remain on the bridge. It is always dangerous in these 
great fogs. Perhaps he may not even come to lunch, as it is 
already mid-day and the fog is as dense as ever. Amongst the 
four hundred passengers there is a man by the name of Valdo- 
brandi, a tourist by profession, who voyages with an American 
Company, and who has made the round of the world. He is a very 

London to New York — Angnst, 1902 


nice person. Having noticed that we eat little, comes every 
day to explain the menu to us, and so encourages us to eat every¬ 
thing. There is also an Italian Doctor called Cucchi; he rather 
needs to be comforted by us, as he has suffered very much from 
sea-sickness and is very timid. He is travelling for a Bologna 
Society of Doctors, and is going to the Tropics to learn about the 
diseases in those places. The poor man didn’t eat for three days, 
but, encouraged by Mr. Valdobrandi and by us, he is feeling better. 

2^th. This morning again we had fog, but it didn’t last long. 
The sun soon broke through, and we have a most beautiful day. 
The sea is as calm as a lake. Yesterday the fog was obstinate, 
to-day it lifted at once, and we could see in this the figure of a 
docile soul which allows itself to be overcome by the grace of God, 
the Sun of Justice, whilst a rebellious soul resists all the most 
beautiful graces, and becomes hard and exposes itself to great 
danger. Blessed will you be if you are animated by the spirit of 
Obedience, because that precious virtue makes your way sure. In 
Obedience all is light, splendour, grace, health, joy and peace. 
Love obedience, my daughters. Remember, a true Religious is 
always and in everything obedient. She knows no delay, she 
never puts off till the morrow what has been commanded to-day, 
being always ready for whatsoever is ordered. The truly obedient 
soul performs exactly and entirely all that has been commanded. 
She does not do her work in part, but entirely and completely. 
She does not offer half of the Victim to her Celestial Spouse, but 
she offers it whole and entire, and so the whole sacrifice is accept¬ 
able and rises with a sweet odour to Heaven. It is, indeed, a 
heavenly sight to see a Religious obey cheerfully with a spirit of 
joy, whilst on the contrary it causes pain to see another who 
obeys with laments and difficulties. 

The good Religious conforms her judgment perfectly to that of 
her Superior. She thinks as her Superior, hence the intellect and 
judgment of a good Religious are in all things conformed to the 
intellect and judgment of the Superior, as the pious will can bend 
the intellect, as Saint Ignatius observes, in things that are not self- 
evident. You, my dear daughters, want to become holy and perfect. 
Behold the shortest and surest way is to give yourselves cheerfully 
to the exercise of obedience. Do not look and consider the qualities. 

226 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

gifts and ways of the Superior, otherwise you will exchange the 
Divine for the human. See in the Superior only the authority 
of God. Blessed will you be if you know how to obtain from 
God the true spirit of obedience; to merit such a beautiful grace, 
do all in your power to obtain it. Obey promptly and exactly, 
not only her who is greater than you, but submit willingly to 
your equals and inferiors. When you work, pray, eat, recreate 
yourself, do all in the spirit of obedience, trying in all things to 
deny your own will, and conforming it to that of your most 
amiable Spouse, Who is always looking at you and all you do for 
His love, and observing the manner in which you do it. If you 
do everything in the spirit of holy obedience, you give new 
splendour to even the most ordinary tasks which you perform for 
the Community, because of obedience that accompanies every 
act is even greater than the work itself. 

The great people of the earth have their coats-of-arms, or shields, 
which remind them of their illustrious ancestors, or of some of 
their glorious deeds, and I would love that the Shield of the 
Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart should have written on it 
very clearly the beautiful and really glorious words which Jesus 
said of Himself, '‘Ego quae placita sunt ei facio semper.” Obedi¬ 
ence is a revealed word, a ray of living light that descends upon 
us from the Father of Lights, a manifestation to us of His Divine 
Will. God does what He likes with obedient souls; they are the 
delight of His most adorable and sweet Heart. To all obedient 
hearts God communicates willingly all His lights. His gifts. His 
most precious graces. On these He causes to shine the light of 
His face, and fills them with happiness and delights of every kind. 
You, dear daughters, are Missionaries. You must render your¬ 
selves capable of gaining many souls to the Heart of Jesus. So 
try and acquire the true spirit of obedience, because it is through 
such obedient souls that Jesus accomplishes on this earth His 
sublime designs and great works. The good Jesus likes to stay 
with obedient souls, and guides them with His wisdom. He illum¬ 
ines them with His light. He comforts them with His grace, and 
makes them arbiters of His inheritance. Yes, daughters, she who 
is obedient to Jesus and acquires a true spirit of obedience, obtains 
that all creatures become obedient to her, and so she conducts 
them to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. But I should never finish 

London to Nezv York — August^ 1902 


talking of the holy treasure of obedience that will make you 
blessed, so I conclude by exhorting you to recall well the words 
of the angelic Saint Thomas, that it is obedience that makes the 
Religious, and that of the three Vows it is the first and principal, 
for by the vow of poverty we give our goods, by the vow of 
chastity our own body, but by the vow of obedience we give our 
whole being, which is certainly much more, as the soul with its 
powers is by far more excellent and more noble than riches and 
the body. Be victorious, my daughters, but in what way? By 
l)eing truly obedient, for obedient souls triumph over their enemies. 

It is the afternoon of the 28th. The sea looks more beautiful 
than ever, and my companions are charmed. Several dolphins 
follow the steamer, to our great amusement. Some passengers 
asked Mother Albertina to play the piano. This she did and pleased 
them very much; they saw that Catholics can be sociable when 
occasion presents itself. An English Protestant lady, a great 
writer and a contributor to the Chicago Tribune, came to me after¬ 
wards, and in the course of her conversation, showed a secret desire 
to become a Catholic. She remarked that she would go on writing 
until the Anglican Church became Catholic again, for England is the 
nation which has given the Church more saintly Kings than any 
other country. It was very strange to hear her speak in that strain, 
but she is an intelligent person, and if she works on the right lines 
she will do a great deal of good. She wanted the address of our 
House in Rome, so that when she returned she might visit us and 
seek some Catholic Priest to instruct her in the Catholic Religion. 
If the Sacred Heart would only bless us so much as to give us such 
a conversion, the suffering of this voyage would be very little to 
endure. To the Sacred Pleart of my Jesus nothing is impossible. 
He is the Master of Hearts. He can change them in a moment as 
He changed that of Saint Augustine, the great Father and Doctor 
of the Church, whose feast we celebrate to-day. 


On tLe Occaiion the inauguration 
the iJ-ou6e in 2). 
l^ouemLery 1902 


A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

Denver, Colorado, 

\?>th November, 1902. 

My dear Daughters, 

Yesterday, in the presence of His Lordship, the Bishop of 
Denver, a large number of priests, amongst whom were several 
Jesuit Fathers, and a select audience, including the flower of the 
Italian Colony, the new Mission of this capital was solemnly 
inaugurated, and His Lordship blessed the School recently opened 
for the education of Italians in this city. 

A few months ago. Monsignor Matz, the Bishop of Denver, met 
two of our Sisters, and, having grasped a little of the spirit of the 
work of our Institute, was desirous of having a foundation of 
ours in Denver. He wrote to me at once, and accompanied his 
request by such pressing exhortations showing all the good the 
Institute could do, the necessity of our work in that country, the 
vast field, as he put it, that the Missionaries would find in which 
to exercise their zeal, etc., that it was impossible to refuse the offer. 

I knew the conditions of the country, which in a few years had 
made rapid development, and I realised His Lordship's assertions 
were quite true. I had not the heart to refuse him the work of the 
Institute when the greater glory of God was in question. After 
mature consideration, I consented to comply with the wishes of 
His Lordship, and we arrived here two or three weeks ago to 
launch the new foundation. The opening took place yesterday, 
and was solemnly inaugurated and blessed by the Pastor at whose 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

desire we had come to Denver. On our arrival in this city, the 
Sisters found a vast field of labour. Though our work extends to 
every class, without regard to nationality, nevertheless the number 
of Italians is very great, and this renders our Mission all the more 
necessary. A School is needed for our children, in order to prevent 
them from going to the public schools, where they do not receive 
religious instruction, this being given only in the parochial schools. 
Apart from the children, the adults think only of gaining their 
living, and forget all about their souls. There are to be found 
here young people, up to thirty years of age, who have not made 
their First Communion yet. There are marriages which have not 
been blessed by the priest, children not baptized. In the moun¬ 
tains, hundreds of workmen are to be found oppressed by work, 
living far from the church, where Mass is seldom celebrated, 
who have not approached the Sacraments for many years; but 
they are in such good dispositions that they only need encourage¬ 
ment, and if we go to them with Christ's charity, which is all to 
all, they will, as good sheep, return to God and listen with docility 
to the voice that calls. 

It will not be long before the Sisters will have the pleasure of 
preparing for the beautiful and consoling functions which are 
enjoyed in Louisiana and in other States, where they teach the 
Catechism to the poor peasants and prepare them for Holy Com¬ 
munion, which perhaps they have not received for more than 
fifty years. Here also they will prepare in a small hut, or some¬ 
times under a tree, an Altar, the canopy of which is the sky and 
the walls of which are the beauties of nature. Here, in the midst 
of this poverty, Jesus, docile to the word of the priest, descends 
into the hearts of these poor people, whom He loves so much. 
At other times it is the Bishop himself who, in this immense 
temple of nature, having for his throne the trunk of a tree, for 
a carpet the green moss of the mountains, or the green grass wet 
with dew, administers the Sacrament of Confirmation to his 
children, on whom from Heaven God looks with complacency. 

To begin our work, we opened a School at once, to which two 
hundred children came the very first day. Yesterday we had the 
pleasure of having it blessed by our worthy Bishop of Denver. 
He is a man after God's own Heart, full of charity, zeal and 
sacrifice, for the good of the sheep entrusted to his care. The 

Inatigiiration in Denver — November, 1902 


most Sacred Heart of Jesus has inspired him with such confidence 
in the work of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, and with so 
much affection for them, that we feel we have a father in him, one 
who will help us and second our efforts, and offer us new fields in 
which to do good. 

Like a good father, he himself desired to bless our children, so 
we had to prepare a reception for His Lordship. You may imagine 
how happy we were to offer our tribute of gratitude to our good 
Bishop. Everything seemed easy, despite the shortness of time 
at our disposal, the difficulty of polishing, as it were, those little 
mountain stones, our children, who certainly possess hidden gems 
of the best quality, though at present they are rather rough and 
unpolished. We must admit, however, that they surprised us by 
their brightness, docility, good nature and lovely simplicity. The 
children worked a whole week with might and main and with 
growing anxiety as the day drew near. 

It was lovely yesterday morning to see them arrive from all 
parts, notwithstanding the snow, on which, like a beautiful white 
mantle, the sun's rays sparkled and covered the earth. They 
were dressed in white, and they took their places in the centre 
of the old church, which is now converted into a schoolhouse. The 
two side aisles were crowded with their parents. Just in the 
centre was erected a stage, artistically adorned with the Papal 
colours, and in the midst of which hung the portrait of our 
immortal Pontiff. How could he be missing from our gatherings 
and festivals? It is he who protects our Institute so much, who 
loves us so much, and who renders our work fruitful by his bless¬ 
ings, and in whose name and at whose command I feel encouraged 
to undertake any work, assured that, leaning on the rock of the 
Vatican, I have nothing to fear, but, on the contrary, have in 
that protection a pledge of celestial favours. 

Now this sight was quite new to the Italians of this city, and 
one could perceive the purest joy in their countenances, as well 
as in that of the Rector, who moved about amongst his parishioners 
with his face lit up with smiles. The good Jesuit Fathers Pantanella 
and Gubitosi, who help so much in this Mission, were equally 
delighted as well as the poor parents, who underneath a modest 
smile hid the pride they felt as they watched their children file 
out in order to the music of a march and take their places with a 

232 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

discipline that equalled that of our other Schools which have been 
long established. The hall presented a beautiful and consoling 
sight, which struck me as being the first-fruits of a Mission which 
will develop under the fructifying patronage of the Most Sacred 
Heart of Jesus. 

A few minutes after ten a.m. the bell announced that the Bishop 
was approaching the School from our House, which in his kindness 
he had visited in order to see me. In a few minutes the carriage 
drove to the School, where the good Bishop, accompanied by a 
number of priests, entered the hall. With quick step, and smiling 
all over with kindness, he saluted the children and their parents 
in their mother-tongue, our Italian language, which he speaks 
well. He also speaks English, German, Spanish and French. 
The children, who had been taught to make a profound curtsy 
to their Bishop, as was becoming in the case of one in his high 
position, understood from his sweet and familiar salutation that 
he was indeed a father among them, and so they greeted him with 
great enthusiasm. As he confessed afterwards, the good Prelate 
was greatly surprised to see so many children gathered under the 
protecting wings of our Holy Mother the Church. His heart was 
filled with joy, and, as he said, he understood the sentiments of 
Jesus better on an occasion like that, for when Our Lord was 
surrounded by children. He spoke these words, ‘‘Let little children 
come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” 

He took the above words as the text of his address, which he 
delivered after the children had finished their concert, which they 
performed quite nicely, considering the short space of time the 
School had been opened. It was in the course of his address that 
this great Prelate revealed the goodness of his heart and the 
uncommon mental gifts with which he is adorned. Speaking to 
the Italians present, he showed them the necessity of giving a 
Catholic education to their children, of the advantages imparted 
to their children by learning, not only the language of the country, 
but the mother-tongue of their parents—the sweet Italian lan¬ 
guage. He spoke of the necessity of learning different languages 
in this country, where there are people of so many nationalities, and 
where a man is, according to the saying of a celebrated Jesuit, as 
many times a man as the number of the languages he speaks. He 
spoke highly of our beloved Italy, its genius, its art, its culture. 

Inauguration in Denver — November, 1902 


He praised the work of the Italians in the Eastern States, referring 
to their strong constitution and the energy with which they work 
and how much the world expects from them. He spoke words of 
encouragement to the children, praised their behaviour, their sing¬ 
ing, their recitations, and, like a good Father, exhorted them to 
be good. For the Rector he had words of deep appreciation, 
encouraging him to build a new School at once. If his prophecy 
comes true, we shall, before the end of the scholastic year, have 
double the number of children. To the Sisters he spoke kind 
words, as to children devoted and grateful to him. He assured 
them, as he did at the start, that they would have an immense 
field of work. He assured them also of his interest in them, and 
promised that he would always assist them. And, in truth, I 
believe that the Institute has really found in the person of Mon¬ 
signor Matz not only a good father, but also a zealous co-worker 
who will always lend his aid and facilitate and increase opportuni¬ 
ties for us to work for the good of our neighbours. The School has 
now begun its regular course, and the Sisters are also working 
courageously in the neighboring towns. 

The diocese of Denver comprises a large territory, being the 
only one in Colorado. The area of this State exceeds that of 
Italy. One-third of the land is a plain, whilst two-thirds comprise 
the mountainous regions of the Rocky Mountains. This is a high 
chain of mountains, the highest peaks of which are 14,500 feet 
high. As the name explains, these mountains are immense masses 
of rock, coloured with the most beautiful tints of the rainbow. 
They present a most enchanting view, and form one of the great 
natural beauties of the United States. If one were to see this 
scene painted, those enormous masses that appear to hang by 
a thread, with the railway cars running zig-zag between the folds 
of the mountains up to the highest peaks, and then precipitating 
themselves down into the valleys below, and running through 
the gorges called canons, whose walls are inaccessible, and, because 
of their marble-like, colours and beautiful forms seem like an 
enchanted castle, one would imagine the whole thing was simply 
a creation of the painter's brush. These surprising shades of 
colour are formed by the various elements of which the mountains 
are composed. Every kind of metal, amongst which gold, silver. 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

tin and lead abound, is found here. The mines form almost the 
exclusive industry of this part of the State. 

In these deep caves far away from the light of the sun, absorbed 
in hard work, immersed sometimes in the boiling water which 
emerges from the mineral springs that abound here, many thou¬ 
sands of miners spend their lives. Whilst the Companies amass 
millions, the greater part of the miners work hard, and, by inde¬ 
fatigable digging, seek a precious vein which may prove a fortune 
for themselves and family. Often, after many years of hard labour, 
they receive a very small reward by way of compensation for their 
strenuous efforts. At times when fortunate enough to find a 
vein (which is found among the rocks of granite and quartz in 
the crevices produced by volcanic eruptions, and by which the 
volatile metal is transformed, having been deposited by the work 
of Nature in incalculable far distant ages), the ways and means 
are wanting with which to develop it, and so the poor men remain 
as if they had found nothing, and as if they were just beginning 
their task. They live, however, absorbed and intent on gaining 
worldly goods, forgetting the good God. 

They are fortunate in those villages where the priest goes once 
a month to celebrate Holy Mass. In the meanwhile there is a 
spiritual famine, and you may imagine how great is the need of 
spiritual help. Our Sisters have begun their rounds. They have 
descended nine hundred feet into the mines, being lowered in a 
cage hardly large enough to contain them into a shaft about only 
one square metre wide, and cut obliquely in the rock. The com¬ 
pressed air introduced into the mines makes respiration possible. 
They have also walked at times several kilometres through narrow 
tunnels at the same depth, speaking a word of comfort to these 
poor creatures and reminding them of the eternal truths. It is 
not difficult to touch on the subject of hell as they walk through 
these dark tunnels where breathing is difficult, where the only 
available light is that of a few tallow candles, a pale idea, it is 
true, but still very expressive of the eternal darkness. 

The Sisters, who are performing this Mission for the good of 
others, find it also advantageous to themselves, for they realise 
what the world does for temporal gain, and the thought of this 
fills them with greater zeal to work for the glory of the Sacred 
Heart and the diffusion of our Holy Religion. To work for the 


Inauguration in Denver — November, 1902 

extension of the Kingdom of God on this earth, there is no necessity 
to go in search of veins of gold, for the smallest act sanctified by 
a pure intention, and in our case by Holy Obedience and performed 
according to the spirit of our Institute, is the purest gold, and 
deposited where thieves cannot steal. Oh, how fortunate are the 
souls who are called by God to religion! Let us love our vocation 
with our whole heart. Let us thank God constantly for having 
conferred upon us so great a gift, working always with zeal in 
whatever field obedience places us, not counting our sacrifices, 
bearing in mind that we do very little, and that on the great Day 
we shall know the truth of the words of Jesus Christ, that 
‘‘the children of darkness are more prudent than the children of 

Returning to what I was saying, the passion for gold which 
absorbs so many lives and ruins so many souls, has, in this State, 
rather contributed to the benefit of the inhabitants of the boundary 
State of Utah. They are for the greater part Mormons, a sect 
which practices polygamy. Not tolerated in the other States, they 
migrated to Utah. Providence, who never fails its children, moved 
by the prayers of the good offered in behalf of these Mormons, dis¬ 
posed that the latter should be drawn by the prospects of gain in 
the mines of Colorado, which are considered richer than those of 
California. Hence many of these Mormons have left their own 
State and abandoned their sect. The laws of the United States 
do not countenance, but rather condemn, the Mormons, and they 
are precluded from the higher offices of the State. So much so, 
that when an attempt was made to place one of them in one of 
the highest offices of the State, a general outcry of indignation 
arose, especially among the women, who revolted against such a 
degradation, regarding the whole thing as a violation of the most 
sacred rights of womanhood secured them by Christianity. 

He who is faithful to God is faithful to his country and to his 
family, and the more the fear of God animates the citizens of a 
country, the greater and the more respected will the nation itself 
be. Moreover, as it is said that nations are formed on the knees 
of the mother, it follows that the more the mother is venerated 
in the family, and the more she herself conforms her conduct to 
that sublime model that we have in Her, who, repairing the faults 
of Eve, raised the status of humanity, so much the greater will 

236 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

be those future generations who will form the glory and the pros¬ 
perity of their country. These principles, my dear daughters, you 
should teach in your Schools, because, as educators, you must 
not only form good Christians, but good citizens for the State, 
which we wish to be great and respected. 

And here I address myself not only to you, but also to the good 
young ladies in Rome who are studying in our College, and who 
will shortly be called to educate others. Make them understand 
what the Church and Society expect of them. 

The world is poisoned with erroneous theories, and needs to 
be taught sane doctrines, but it is difficult to straighten what has 
become crooked. It is in your hands to form new generations, to 
lead them in the right direction, to instil into them those principles 
which are the seed of good works, though for the moment they 
may seem hidden. The impressions of childhood are never 
obliterated. We shall be indebted to you, if the youth whom 
you educate, when grown up, become the pride of the family, of 
Society, of the State, and, especially, the honour and support of 
our Holy Faith. I have had already great consolations among 
the Alumnae of Rome, and I am expecting to receive many more, 
being convinced that these good young ladies are doing good and 
will continue to do so. The great amount of work I have found 
in the Western State will prolong my stay longer than I had ex¬ 
pected. It is not time lost, however, so accompany me with your 
prayers and sacrifices, so that all our works may prosper to the 
greater glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For if the whole 
world is obliged to love and make reparation to this loving Heart, 
Which beats only with love for us, how much more so should the 
Missionary, who bears His name, and who, with the love of 
predilection, has been chosen to imitate Him and to promote His 
interests, be permeated with the spirit of love and reparation. 
We all know the greatness of our vocation. Let us be careful 
not to make ourselves unworthy of it by putting a limit to our 
love, to our sacrifices for Jesus, for the Missionary should never 
say, “I have done enough.’’ Nor ever shrink from difficulties, 
for not being able to do it of herself, the Missionary can, never¬ 
theless, do all in Jesus, for she has her motto, ‘'Tutto posso in 
Colui che mi conforta.” Grow more and more, day by day, in 
virtue, always according to the spirit of the Institute, and may 

Ijiaiigiiration in Denver — November, 1902 


God’s blessing descend upon you and may you increase in numbers, 
for the crops are abundant, the harvest is great, but the reapers 
are few. The days fly, souls are being lost. Death is approaching 
more quickly than we realize, and then the time for work is over. 

Work, then, while you have time. Work with energy, and 
especially with the spirit of sacrifice, for it is this that forms the 
true Missionary. This storms the Heart of Jesus, and draws from 
It, as it were, the most precious graces for those souls who are 
the hardest and the most obstinate in resisting His love. Work 
with an apostolic spirit which offers everything, actions, prayers 
and sacrifices for the conversion of souls. Seek amongst your 
acquaintances, above all, among those who wish to do some good 
for the glory of God, souls who will co-operate with us and give 
material help for our Missions. Saint Paul, in one of his letters 
to the Philippians, speaks of his predilection towards those who 
are generous and help with their offerings, and he calls them co¬ 
workers of the Gospel. How many beautiful souls there are in 
the world whose hearts are filled with zeal and with the love of 
God, and who are distressed at the thought of so many about to 
be lost. They wish to do something to save souls. Not being 
able, on account of their position, to consecrate themselves to 
this great Apostolic work, they timidly keep repeating to them¬ 
selves, ‘'Oh, if I could do something for those souls,” and they 
proceed no further. Teach them that, without leaving or neglect¬ 
ing the obligations of their state or country, they can become 
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, and that they will find them¬ 
selves among the number of those who enter Heaven followed by 
a number of souls saved by them. But how? you will ask. 

The first condition is prayer. Saint Teresa helped the great 
apostle of the Indies, Saint Francis Xavier, by praying and 
sacrificing herself in the solitude of her cell. The second condition 
is to help the Missions entrusted to the Institute by offerings. 
God’s judgments are very different from the judgments of the 
world. The world judges from appearance, and gives honour and 
glory to those who do not merit them. God sees everything, even 
our most sacred thoughts, and knows how to trace the origin of 
that small offering which did so much good, and which therefore 
may have been the first and real author of the good done by the 
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in far-distant lands. What is 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

given to the Missionary is given to God, because given for the 
benefit of the poor and the abandoned. If it is sweet to deprive 
oneself in order to give, how much more consoling, is it not, to 
give to God from Whom we have received everything? He will 
not allow Himself to be outdone in generosity. He who is so good 
and magnificent! Banks fail, thieves steal, the moth destroys, 
storms ruin possessions, but the money given to God is placed in 
the Divine Treasury, where it repays a hundredfold. 

Continue, my dear daughters, to procure the greater glory of 
the Sacred Heart, in which I leave you, so that He may inflame 
you with His Divine and Holy Love. 

Yours most affectionately in Jesus Christ, 

Frances Saverio Cabrini. 


jCetter to the Students 
cfeackers Gollege in 
TTLag, igojf 

of the 

My dear young Ladies : 

I hasten, before the close* of the scholastic term and before you 
leave for your homes, to thank you for your very welcome letters 
of Christmas and Easter, which you wrote me after the Retreat 
you made during the carnival season. It is, as you already know, 
a great pleasure for me to learn that you are progressing in your 
studies, in your designs for the future and in your aspirations. 
It is true that now and then the Reverend Mother informs me as 
to your good conduct, but it is a greater pleasure for me to read 
in your own words, and, if I may say so, between the lines, of the 
workings of grace in your souls, and to contemplate how the 
precious seeds of virtue sown in your souls, developing into grace¬ 
ful little plants, will one day grow to a perfect height, and have 
their boughs weighed down under a load of precious fruits. This 
great interest I have in you is a natural outcome of the singular 
affection I bear you as the favourite children of a great family 
which the Sacred Heart has confided to my care. I regard you, 
not so much as soil, whereon, with my dear Sisters, I strive to 
implant a Christian education, but rather do I consider you as 
co-workers, destined one day to associate your lives with ours in 
the great enterprise of the Salvation of Souls. 

How great, noble, exalted, is the mission you are called to 
accomplish in this world! To you. Our Divine Lord addressed 
the words He spoke to His Apostles one day, 'T have chosen you 
so that you will bear fruit and that your fruit will remain.” Reflect 
a little with me on the predilection of God for you in this call, 
‘T have chosen you,” not ‘‘you have chosen Me.” In fact. He 
did not wish that during your studies you should be exposed to 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

the poisonous atmosphere of the world. He has drawn you into 
His own House, so that you could breathe into your souls its 
salubrious atmosphere. There you prepare yourselves for the 
mission you are to fulfil in Society. To many of you, already, 
we may say, despite our great regret at parting from you, “Go 
and bear fruit,’^ for you are already fortified against the world’s 
dangers by the solid instruction you have received. But what 
fruit will you bear? However small your experience is of the 
world, still you see that the multitude is insensible, forgetting 
God. But how much good cannot a wise teacher do to repair 
this, the greatest of evils, if to her mental culture and her intellec¬ 
tual gifts she adds that of a soul solidly founded and frankly 
Christian and religious. She knows as the immortal and lamented 
Pontiff Leo XIIL, said, that we cannot renew Solomon’s judgment 
on the child by the cruel and unjust separation of the intellect 
and the will. She knows that while she cultivates her mind, she 
is bound to direct her will at acquiring virtue to obtain the last 
end. She knows that those who have not received in their early 
years the impressions of Religion, grow up without having even 
the slightest idea of those high truths which alone can awaken in 
them the love of virtue and the control of the passions. She then 
makes her sweet influence felt in the school, aided by the grace 
of the Holy Ghost, and silently mould those young hearts which, 
soft as wax, are ready to receive impressions. Here you per¬ 
ceive the great responsibility of those who neglect their duty, 
for it is difficult to eradicate these early impressions. This is the 
fruit which you are called upon to bring forth in the Church, with 
this difference, however, that whilst a simple teacher has only to 
instruct her class of children, you have the responsibility of 
educating the future teachers, and consequently have a wider field 
wherein to sow your seed, which will thus spread more rapidly 
and bear more fruit. As such you are associated with the great 
work of the Christian Apostolate. Thus you enter the ranks of 
those generous champions who at the command of our great Leader 
and His Vicar on earth, fight bravely to restore the world to Christ. 

How far the world is from Him who is the Way, the Truth 
and the Life, is better understood by one who has to travel so 
to speak, from one end of the world to the other. 

A few weeks ago I was at Seattle, the capital of the State of 

Letter to the Ahimnae of Rome — May, 1904 


Washington, in the extreme west, where we opened a Mission. 
This city, recently built on Puget Sound, with all the comforts 
of its sister cities, has such a charming position that it might be 
called the garden of the United States. Indeed, here it is distin¬ 
guished by the name of Queen City. It might very well also be 
called the City of Twenty Hills—the town, in fact, does spread over 
twenty hills. A most beautiful panorama crowns it. Whilst the 
snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains on one side, and the 
Olympic Mountains on the other, remind us of the North Pole, 
the green hills bathed by the sea are perfumed with lemon and 
orange blossoms and rich with splendid vegetation. In February 
we actually gather strawberries. It is a continual spring, though 
we are fifty degrees north latitude; and this is due to a warm 
stream that comes from Japan. The darkgreen background of the 
virgin forests furnishes excellent building wood in abundance. 

This town reminds one very much of Southern Italy, in its 
nature so beautiful and fertile, whilst it presents a good field of 
work for the Missionary. We found Italians who for the last forty 
or fifty years have not seen a church. They do not want to go 
to the English speaking churches which they believe to be 
Protestant. Our first care was to build a small, simple church, just 
big enough to contain them all; it is close to our School and 
Orphanage, which are built on a hill. On the slopes and valleys 
beneath are scattered the houses of the Italians. At the beginning 
we had no bell, so the Sisters used to go in twos to call them from 
the different hills. These poor people would answer the call 
and follow the good Sisters who lead them to the church. When 
the first signal is given of the service, they all come running to 
the church, so much so, that when in Lent they come for the 
Stations of the Cross, some of them often have time to make the 
Stations three times over before the service actually begins. 
Though these Italians have been so many years away from God, 
still I found the Faith well rooted in them, even in their very 
bones, as it were, though sometimes latent. Therefore, by means 
of a little kindness and courtesy it is easy to bring them back to 
God. It is very touching to see men of advanced years cry with 
emotion at seeing an Italian church in which they hear the Word 
of God in their mother-tongue, and where they are reminded of 
the old country, so long left, and the ever-dear impressions of 


Tf'avels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

childhood—the steeples, the squares, the feasts, the solemn pro¬ 
cessions in their native land. I expect much from this Mission. 

During my sojourn in Seattle I was asked to open a Mission in 
Alaska. You know this region from the description you have read, 
probably, but it is much more interesting when you hear about it 
from people who have lived there. This peninsula is not far 
from the State of Washington. From Seattle our Italians em¬ 
bark for Alaska in search of gold, which they say is found there; 
an expectation which, though it has proved fatal to some, still 
continues to deceive others. The natives of Alaska are supposed 
to have come from Lapland. I should think it will be very 
interesting for the Sisters who are going there to visit their 
igloos. Their system of building is very simple. They need no 
architects or masons. With a few planks of wood which the 
sea waves, guided by the Hand of God, throw up in quantities on 
the coast of a country where there is perpetual snow and ice, these 
Esquimaux build their roofs and walls, which are supported against 
the side of the mountain. Then they pour water over the huts, 
and this freezes at once. This operation is repeated until the 
walls attain a thickness that renders them inaccessible, even to 
icy winds. The Esquimaux pass their lives in these huts, which 
are more like dens than houses, and they enter them by crawling 
through a low narrow opening. They stretch themselves out on 
skins, in which they dress themselves, and they oil their bodies 
against the cold. 

In the summer, at ten p.m., the sun is still shining, and in 
winter, at three p.m., it is dark night. The sky often favours 
them with the meteoric display that appears at the Pole. Now 
and then, by a mirage similar to that seen in the African desert, 
one sees suspended in the air an entire city, which is supposed to 
be the far-away city of Petersbourg. Their manner of taking food 
is very strange. If you are invited by some great personage, such 
as the head of a tribe, you must not imagine you are going to eat 
a piece of salmon or roast cod fish, of which these coasts abound. 
In front of the head of the family you see two plates, one with 
the dressed meats and the other empty. Now his work begins, 
and this must be very hard, for he chews all the food which is 
given to the guests. When this has been done, it is placed on 
plates and handed round accordingly. This ceremony over, all 


Letter to the Ahimnae of Rome — May, 1904 

the guests eat of this well-prepared dish. This story was told me 
by a Jesuit who passed many years there. This holy Religious 
added that this was not the worst thing done there. 

The white people, however, have begun to build houses and 
villages there, so if any of you wish to join the Sisters who are 
going there, you need not live in ice-huts. Communication with 
other countries is interrupted for long periods. Only twice during 
the winter is the postman, dressed in skins and shod in iron-bound 
boots, seen making his way with difficulty along the road covered 
with eternal ice. The letters are sewn up in his coat, as it is too 
cold for him to have his hands exposed. We see now what 
sacrifices are made to get gold, or to make some earthly gain— 
efforts which often fail. Is it not right that the Missionary should 
remember that in these far-off countries there are souls to be 
saved, and that she should be ready to sacrifice herself for love of 
them? And is it not the duty of all who love God and His glory, 
to pray and to offer some sacrifice for those souls who have been 
bought by the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ? 

The journey from Seattle to Denver is very interesting. One 
passes through cities all so different from one another. In Utah 
I saw the lakes and the mountains of salt of a transparent milk 
colour. But more interesting still is it to see the Indian Reserves. 
The territories where the United States Government confines the 
Indians are called Indian Reserves, as the Indians are not allowed 
to live with the whites. They are allowed in the towns now and 
then to sell their merchandise. 

Some time ago, when hatred still existed between the Red man 
and the White, only one Indian woman, Angelina by name, was 
allowed to enter the city of Seattle, and I will tell you why. 
Amongst the many idols that the Indians adore, some of them 
have truly repugnant appearances. Now it happened that the 
white men carried off one of these, and it still stands in a square 
of Seattle. This idol represented a deformed gnome, and, with 
other smaller monsters, formed a column. The Indians were so 
exasperated that they swore to avenge the profanation and to 
vindicate the honour of their idol by the destruction of the town. 
But Angelina was a sweet, good-hearted woman, and did not 
want so much blood shed. So, crossing mountains and valleys 
and risking other dangers, she entered the city at night. The 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

white men, having been warned, were thus prepared to defend 
themselves against the attack of the Indians. So they never 
forgot the kindness of Angelina. She was therefore allowed the 
privilege of going into the town at any time, and of lodging at 
any hotel at the Government’s expense. She was called the 
Queen of the Queen City. It seems a small thing to us, but to 
the Indians it was quite a big affair, of which even to-day they 
are proud. I have passed near the Reserve, called Coeur d’Alene, 
because of the ferocious nature of this tribe. Though they retain 
a few of their old habits, they are now more civilized owing to 
the progress of religion, especially through the Apostolate of the 
Jesuit Fathers. There is much to be done yet, for there are still 
many ridiculous and shameful superstitions amongst them. When 
an Indian dies, all the friends are called to weep over the corpse, 
whether they want to or not. They even have to chant their 
grief in a more or less monotonous strain like this: *‘You were 
very good, oh, oh, oh, you had a lovely house, ah, ah, ah.” You 
may imagine what the rest of the chant is like, and continued 
throughout the dead of night. When the morning dawns, the 
Chief arrives, and they beg him to tell them if the deceased has 
gone to heaven or to hell. Then he commands them to fetch 
him a bowl of bread and water. They hold the strange belief 
that while the corpse is on earth it needs nothing, but if it goes 
to hell, it has to be provided with bread and water, as these 
items are not to be found in hell. If the dead is destined for 
heaven, it needs nothing, so it does not return to take bread and 
water. Naturally, the deceased does not return for its bread and 
water, consequently the tribe concludes it has gone to heaven, 
and makes merry over it, partaking of a great banquet. Poor 
souls 1 These are they for whom Christ shed so much Blood, who 
so much grieved His Heart in His sorrowful agony when He saw, 
in all the horror of His imminent Passion, the uselessness of His 
agony for so many souls. Oh, how bitter to the Sacred Heart 
was such a thought! How painful those stripes, thorns and nails 
of the Cross 1 If it were only possible for us to console the Divine 
Heart, to comfort Him, and to become victims for the salvation of 
souls that cost such a dear price! Such comfort we can give to 
Jesus. All of us can devote ourselves to this enterprise by means 
of prayer. Let us be generous in our little sacrifices to Our Lord 

Letter to the Alumnae of Rome — May, 1904 


for the success of Catholic Missions. Perhaps, one day, when we 
ourselves are gathered into the Eternal Tabernacle, w’e shall meet 
many souls who will tell us that they owe their eternal happiness 
to us. 

The Indian woman, as in all those nations which have not 
received the light of faith, has to work while the man quietly 
smokes his pipe. The poor woman and mother of many little ones, 
who are too small to stand, is forced to tie her offspring round 
her waist in a sack, and in this unconventional way has to do 
her washing. If the baby cries, she moves it with a shrug of 
her shoulders and thus quiets it. This is the way the Indian baby 
is fondled. 

See how grateful we should be to Christianity, which has raised 
the dignity of woman, re-establishing her rights, unknown to the 
pagan nations. Until Mary Immaculate, the Woman by excellence, 
foretold by the prophets, sighed for by the patriarchs, desired by 
the people. Dawn of the Sun of Justice, had appeared on earth— 
what was woman? 

But Mary appeared, this new Eve, true Mother of the Living, 
elected by God to be the Co-Redemptrix of the human race, and a 
new era arose for woman. She is no longer a slave, but equal 
to man; no longer a servant, but mistress within her domestic 
walls; no longer the object of disdain and contempt, but raised 
to the dignity of Mother and Educator, on whose knee generations 
are built up. 

All this we owe to Mary, and in the midst of the tenderness that 
naturally arises in our hearts for such a pious, amiable, good and 
condescending Mother, ever ready to listen to our prayers, ever 
ready to come to our aid, we must not forget what Christian 
society owes to her, and, consequently, what our obligations are 
to her. 

Mary derives all her greatness from Jesus. If it was her boast 
that she became the Mother of the Redeemer, to her also, as the 
Holy Father has said, was consigned the office of guarding and 
preparing the Victim of the human race. Mary was the Mother 
of Jesus, not only in the joy of Bethlehem, but also on Calvary, 
where she not only contemplated the cruel spectacle, but rejoiced 
at seeing her Son offered for the redemption of mankind. Thus 
did she most worthily merit to become the Co-Redemptrix. If, 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

then, we wish to reach the height of the importance of our Mission, 
let us banish all vanity and levity, and remember that we shall 
only be true women, when, by the discharge of the principal duties 
that are imposed upon us, we become the true educators of society, 
Angels of the family and faithful imitators of Mary Immaculate. 
But what have you to do to imitate her? I should love you to 
look upon your Morning Star, Mary, and become so many copies 
of Mary Immaculate. Cast an interior glance on your Mother, 
and, if your eyes cannot sustain the vivid light that radiates from 
Her, listen to what St. Anselm says of her: ‘"Mary was docile, 
spoke little; she was always composed, was never heard laughing 
aloud, nor ruffled or disturbed; she persevered in the reading of the 
Sacred Scriptures, in mortification and in the works of mercy.^’ 

Saint Ambrose says: ‘‘Her movement was not indolent, her 
walk not too quick, her voice not affected or sharp; the composure 
of her person showed the beauty and harmony of her interior. It 
was a wonderful spectacle to see with what promptness and dili¬ 
gence she performed her domestic duties, to which she applied her¬ 
self with great solicitude, but always with tranquility and great 
peace. Her forehead was serene, and a modesty more celestial than 
terrestrial pervaded her every movement. Her words were few and 
always dignified, prudent and joyful. In Mary, all and everything 
was well regulated.*' 

Holy Church in her earliest days appeared to be all concentrated 
in Mary, all hearts turned to her, all hopes after Jesus were placed 
in her. She was the Ark animated by God that contained the 
Law of the New Alliance, the living Rule of the precepts and 
counsels of Jesus Christ, the treasure of the wisdom and knowledge 
of God. 

The difficulties of the primitive Church are just the same after 
twenty centuries, and it is not to be wondered at, for Christ has 
always been the sign of contradiction. And so it must be with 
His Spouse, the Church, in this vale of misery and tears. Do not 
fear difficulties. Let us raise our eyes to our Heavenly Star. Let 
us call upon Mary. She is to us what she was to the Apostles and 
first Christians. Let us honour this Immaculate Dove, and let us 
trust her with unlimited trust. The eyes of her soul and mind 
are turned tov/ards us. Her eyes are sharper and more penetrating 
than those of the prophets and seers of Judah, more perfect than 


Letter to the Alumnae of Rome — May, 1904 

those of the Ecstatic of Patmos, higher than the angelic hierarchies. 
How admirable is Mary Immaculate! Let us abandon ourselves 
into her hands. She is, I repeat, our august Queen and Mother. 
Under her mantle we shall be safe. 

At Denver I found the School, which I opened only a year ago, 
quite flourishing. The cheerful predictions made by the good 
Bishop on that occasion have been succeeded by realisation, and 
now this zealous pastor wants us to found an Orphanage for Italian 
orphans, who are very numerous in Colorado, owing to the disas¬ 
ters that befall the poor miners. 

In two days I made a rapid journey from the capital of Colorado 
through Texas, to Louisiana. Even here what beauties of nature 
are visible—a pale image of Him Who is the Eternal Beauty, and 
Who, to testify His predilection for us, has willed to spread them 
over the earth. 

For hours we ran through very narrow chasms, called 
'‘canons,’’ which are renowned all the world over. They consist 
of perpendicular walls of inaccessible height which seem to 
touch the sky, whilst below the river flows in zig-zag fashion, 
alternately impetuous and calm, reflecting in its pure water of 
variegated colours the most wonderful rocks I have ever seen. 
It is impossible to describe them. A brush that attempted to 
paint them in all their reality would be considered bold. These 
rocks do really excite one’s wonder; they even change colour at 
different times of the day, and assume colours and tints that even 
the most skilled artist could not hope to reproduce. They are 
the work of the Immortal Artist, Whose existence men dare to 
deny and to forget while the powerful and wonderful works of 
His hands speak so eloquently. 

The immense plains of Texas, the greater part of which, owing 
to the rapid extension of the State, is uninhabited, are most fertile, 
rich in vegetation and suitable for every kind of cultivation. 
These virgin lands are of a reddish colour, full of life and promise, 
and seem to await our Italian emigrants, who go more willingly 
to the populous States of the north, whereas here, ease and a life 
more like £hat in Italy awaits them. There are some Italian 
colonies already, especially in Louisiana, where they are employed 
in the cultivation of cotton, rice and sugar, whilst on the outskirts 
of New Orleans they gain a livelihood by the cultivation of 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

vegetables. In the latter town there are about thirty thousand 
Italians. You can imagine, then, whether you have not much 
work to do. The Schools hold seven hundred children, and, as 
our houses had not sufficient room, the Archbishop made us a 
present of another a few weeks ago. But I must think of the 
orphans, for they are increasing in number. I am engaged on this 
work at present. When I have finished here, I shall return to 
Colorado for a little while. Then I shall go on to Chicago, and 
from there to New York, to embark for Italy. 

To my regret, I shall not find you at Rome on my return, for 
by the time you have received this you will already have entered 
on your exams, and these will be succeeded by the holidays, which 
will be for some of you the end of your scholastic studies. So 
this is a very busy time. But you have done your best. You 
have studied with diligence, so be calm and quiet and you will do 
even better. Have confidence in God and Our Lady, and they 
will help you to pass with honours. I wish you all the fullest 
success. You deserve to be crowned with success, for you are 
very good and of great promise. It is unnecessary for me to tell 
you to pray, as I know you do so, and that you pray from your 
heart. This consoles me very much, because prayer is the weapon 
which will not only defend you, but will help you at the present 
and throughout your life. It is the key of the celestial treasures, 
it is the channel through which grace comes to you. As long as 
you pray, you will be safe. Blessed Canisius says: “He who 
prays is on the road to Heaven.'’ Newer forget this shield, this 
powerful weapon, which will secure for you ultimate victory. In 
great success, pray, and you will take your success moderately, for 
pride comes before a fall. In defeat, pray also, and trust will 
return and you will become strong with the strength of God. 

Pray for yourselves, for those entrusted to your care, for the 
world, for the Church. Make a practice of prayer, and if you 
reach that degree of sweetness of prayer which is found in intimate 
converse with God, you will never have discomfort or despair. 
Dark clouds will not trouble for long the serenity of your 

Obey the precepts of Jesus Christ. Pray, and pray always, and 
God will do His part in you, and will fulfil His promises. “Ask, 
and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall 

Letter to the Ahimnae of Rome — May, 1904 


be opened unto you” And now, good-bye, my dear children. 
I shall not have the pleasure of seeing you, but when you come to 
Rome you must visit the Sisters, and then I shall have the pleasure 
of congratulating you on the Diplomas you have obtained and 
the progress you have made in knowledge and virtue. To those 
who will return after the holidays, let me say a heartfelt “Au 
Revoir,’’ and to the others whom I see leaving us I say regretfully, 
though with confidence, the words of Our Divine Saviour, which 
are full of wisdom: ‘‘Go and bear fruit, and your fruit shall 
remain.’' May the Sacred Heart of Jesus bless you in all the 
vicissitudes of life. May the Divine Heart be for you always the 
door of salvation in which is found shelter, help and comfort. May 
the Mantle of Mary shelter you all. May she clothe you with her 
virtues, keep you under the shadow of her protection. I, seeing 
you entrusted to Jesus and Mary, shall fear nothing, but shall 
implore the blessing of Heaven upon you. 

Yours most affectionately in Corde Jesu, 

Nezv Orleans, 

May 1904. 

Frances Saverio Cabrini. 


jCetter to the Students of the 
ofeackers Gollege, (K ome 
TfLagy igo^ 

My dear Children, 

Several times I have sat down at my table to write to you, 
and, particularly, two months ago, when I received your letters 
which spoke of the Retreat you had made at the end of the carnival 
season. I intended to congratulate you on the expression of your 
good will to lay aside the futile, and oftentimes bitter, amusements 
of the world, and to give up your souls and faculties to the con¬ 
sideration of heavenly things. After those days of recollection, 
you opened the second half of the scholastic year which terminates 
with the fear of the examinations. I call it fear, for it is really 
so, as the thought of these examinations conjures up such colossal 
forms which develop fear. 

My work for the last few months has so much increased, that 
I have not had a spare moment of time to write to anyone. Your 
Easter wishes awoke me to the fact that I had not even answered 
your other letters, so, in order not to be like the statue of Saint 
Philip that is always going to move but never moves, I must 
answer your letters at once. 

I wish I had the gift of your style, so that I could express myself 
in such kind and elegant language as comes from you, but as I 
know that it is the heart that dictates your sentiments, so it is my 
heart that thanks you and blesses you, only as the heart of a 
mother can. You know well that you form a favourite portion of 
the great family that the Sacred Heart has given me, and I have 
a special concern for your welfare and pray for you most fervently. 

You ask me to pray for your examinations, and I shall do so 


252 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

willingly. I know the Sacred Heart and Our Lady will obtain 
for you the grace to pass with credit. 

From you I ask two things: first, continue to pray with 
fervour, as you have done so far. God alone has put into the 
mind of man this Divine spark of intelligence. The poet, the 
artist, the scientist, all owe to God the genius that makes them 
great, and the Church, amongst the glorious titles she gives to 
the Holy Ghost, calls Him the Spirit of Wisdom and of Intellect. 
It is meet, therefore, that we should draw water from the source, 
and so, after having worked on our part and studied assiduously, 
we must have recourse to Our Lord and expect from Him memory, 
intelligence and success. The celebrated Cardinal Ximenes used 
to place himself at the foot of the Crucifix when there were great 
questions of State in hand. When asked by his Ministers why he 
did so, he answered, "'To pray is to rule.’’ Pray, then, but not 
at great length, for you have no time except for prayer with 
fervour. The world of to-day is going back to paganism, and, 
in spite of its gigantic progress in science and commerce, has 
forgotten prayer, and hardly recognizes it any longer. And that 
has come about because, with pagan sentiments, man makes a 
god of himself and of creatures, and loses the idea of the relations 
that exist between himself and God. Our good God, who, as the 
child recites in the catechism, has created Heaven and earth, is 
almost banished from the world—there is no place for Him. Man 
has made an idol of himself which he adores, and so does not pray 
to, or adore, the true and only God. No wonder, then, that after 
superhuman efforts, nature, weak and impotent to fight any longer, 
or to attain what it seeks, abandons itself to despair, suicide and 
crime. Prayer would have obviated all this. Prayer is like an 
incense rising to Heaven, and draws exhilarating graces from 
Heaven. It strengthens the strayed soul, giving it back peace 
and calm. 

Now, here is the second thing I would ask of you. Be calm and 
composed. Place all your trust in God. This is not presumption, 
as you have worked and studied hard all the year, so don’t alarm 
yourselves. Study quietly. Pray, and confide in your Mother, 
Mary Immaculate, and all will go well. He who trusts in Her 
shall not be confounded. 

We had, in the foundation of the Chicago Hospital, a visible 


Letter to the Ahimnae of Rome — May, 1905 

proof showing how powerfully Heaven helps those who invoke 
with faith. We went to Chicago, after leaving New Orleans on 
the 10th February, where I bought some ground for our Orphan¬ 
age. This now has a beautiful villa, facing some of the principal 
roads of the town, and extending into various parks until the 
grounds reach the crystal waters of the river Bayou St. John. When 
I arrived in Chicago to complete all arrangements in the hospital 
which was to be opened on February 26th, I found there were two 
months more work to be done. The date of opening had, however, 
been fixed, and it could not be changed. The President of the Hos¬ 
pital, the celebrated Dr. Murphy, whose fame is world-wide as a 
surgeon and the inventor of surgical instruments which bear his 
name, wished to be present at the opening of the Hospital. He was 
about to go to Florida on account of his health, and would not 
have been able to be present if the date was postponed, and would 
therefore have been obliged to forego such a pleasure. This I cer¬ 
tainly could not countenance. 

What a work! It is a vast edifice six stories high. Though it 
is solidly built of enormous stones, still the interior had to be 
brought up-to-date to meet the requirements of modern medical 
science and surgery. So there was needed a number of workmen, 
masons, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and decorators. But 
this was the least important of all. There was the organization 
of the staff, which had to receive the sick the day after the 
inauguration. Only tliose who have experienced such a big task 
can understand what it all means. The Sisters worked day and 
night. The work seemed to increase instead of decreasing. People 
even remarked, ‘Tt is too much; it cannot be finished; there 
are too many difficulties ahead.’’ But firm trust in the Heart of 
Jesus kept us calm, and amidst this tranquillity the work was 
quickly and well done, so much so that on February 28th we 
were able to open the doors of the Hospital, and at the same time 
feel sure the critical eye of the public would have no reason to 
find fault or ridicule. 

It was a great day for the New Columbus Hospital. We called 
it ‘*The Day of the Lord,” as it was all His work. Even a 
most clear sky, with a sun which made the blue waters of the 
immense lake Michigan sparkle, seemed to participate in the feast. 

The opening of a Hospital, though it is a great event for the 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

medical profession, does not awaken great sympathy in the public, 
as people shrink from these asylums of pain. Great, then, was the 
surprise of the worthy Archbishop Quigley, when he saw himself 
surrounded by 4,000 people who crowded around the chapel and 
reception rooms to hear him speak. Several thousand people were 
sent away, as there was no room nor any hope of their being 
accommodated at the ceremony. All agreed that there had never 
been such enthusiasm over the opening of a Hospital in the United 
States as there was on this occasion. It was the Lord's Day, the 
work of the Lord. 

The morning ceremony was purely religious, and consisted of 
the blessing of the House by the Archbishop, followed by a long 
procession of people. There was a Solemn High Mass, with a 
sermon by His Grace the Archbishop. A pleasant surprise awaited 
the congregation at the close of His Grace's touching sermon, when 
the Archbishop read a telegram from His Holiness the Pope, who 
sent his blessing. You, young ladies, who are so privileged at 
seeing His Holiness so frequently and receiving his blessing, 
experience holy emotions in your souls. You can imagine, then, 
with what enthusiasm this telegram was received by the doctors 
and guests. It came as a heavenly message. It was as precious 
as the distance is great which lies between these shores and the 
Vicar of Christ. Not knowing how they could better express their 
gratitude, they asked me to send a telegram of thanks to His 
Holiness, which I did very willingly, as I was so pleased to see 
how well the Holy Father's precious blessing was received. As 
for myself, I look upon the blessing of His Holiness as a pledge 
of heavenly favours, for I have always noticed that success attends 
every work which has been sealed by it. The hand of the Holy 
Father is never raised in vain. Blessed are you who are able to 
receive his blessing from him personally. Protected by such a 
powerful shield, have courage, for His Holiness' blessing will 
extend to your families, interests, studies and examinations. 

At the dinner, the function was enhanced by a select musical 
programme, interspersed with eloquent speeches by the most 
eminent persons present, i.e., Doctor Murphy, Chief Justice 
Brentano, and other distinguished personages and visitors. 

The medical faculty of the city classify our Hospital as one of 
the first order. All agree that it is in a most charming position. 

Letter to the Alumnae of Rome — May, 1905 


and that its architectural features stamp it one of the best in 
Chicago. As for modern requirements of science, everything is of 
the latest. Every ward is governed according to the hygienic laws 
of modern surgery. There are several operation rooms, offices for 
sterilization, other rooms for electricity, X-rays, etc. Annexed to 
it is a training college for nurses, who, after three years’ training, 
obtain their diploma. 

The Hospital is situated in the vicinity of a park, with a 
splendid view of Lake Michigan. One might say that Nature, 
with its invigorating and oxygenated atmosphere, and the science 
of the doctors, who form the medical staff, go hand in hand to 
secure the well-being of the patients who, in this place of rest, 
come to seek their health and to recuperate their strength. 

I believe it will please you to hear some of the points of Doctor 
Murphy’s speech, which was a glory to the Church and our beau¬ 
tiful land. 

He remarked that as our country was first in science and art, 
so also can she boast of being first in the field of Charity. Before 
the coming of Christianity, there were no institutions, no expres¬ 
sions of fraternal charity, like those of our modern hospitals. Even 
ancient Greece, with all its culture and civilization, ignored this 
noble sentiment and hardly took care of its wounded soldiers. 
But Christ came into the world, lighted the fire of Charity, and 
Italy had the glory of having the first hospital in Rome, followed 
soon after by one in the Campagna Romana. Some centuries 
passed before other nations followed her example in these works 
of charity, amongst which was England. The Holy Catholic 
Church did this work, and continued to practise it all through 
the Middle Ages, and there was no Convent that had not annexed 
to it an Infirmary, where the poor and the sick were succoured. 

Now the Columbus Hospital has begun its beneficent work for 
Society, and great numbers of sick seek its shelter and remain 
within its walls willingly. We have patients from Colorado and 
California. As soon as I saw the Hospital settled, I returned to 
these Western States, and now I am amidst the mountains of 
Colorado. Whilst I write, the President of the United States 
has arrived triumphantly in Denver, after being away for three 
months hunting bears amongst the Rocky Mountains. Ten fell 
victims to his gun, and he is sending the skins to Washington for 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

his daughter, Alice, who asked for them. I have not been able 
to follow him and admire the wonderful birds which build their 
nests in the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains, for this is not 
my mission, nor have I the strength to do so, but in this splendid 
State, which is named as they say after its multi-coloured moun¬ 
tains, there are flowers and birds of the most brilliant and varie¬ 
gated colours. Let us thank God, who allows such rays of His 
infinite beauty and power to fall on this earth. 

The citizens of Denver wish to name President Roosevelt honor¬ 
ary member of the Press Association of Denver. Do you know 
what kind of diploma was offered him? In the neighbouring 
mines they excavated a quantity of gold which they fused in their 
big foundry. This was then drawn out into a shining sheet of the 
most pure and solid gold, upon which they engraved in silver (a 
product of Colorado also) the formula of aggregation. This was 
in turn studded around with the most precious stones to be found 
there. What a beautiful gift! There are like wonders in 
California, where I am going as soon as I have bought the ground 
for our Orphanage. Here it is the mineral kingdom which boasts 
of its wonders. There the vegetable kingdom opens another page 
of the book of the beauties of the Universe—pale image of the 
Most High. 

To Him, then, let us turn our souls, created by Him and for 
Him—those souls in which He has infused a great attraction for 
the beautiful and great, a proof of our high origin and the end for 
which we were created. Let us raise ourselves up from this earth, 
and, since we cannot fly from it, let us rise above the things of 
the world. The pure intention that we put into our daily work 
is the magic wand that changes it all into gold, and the Christian 
virtues that we practise blossom forth as so many odoriferous 
flowers, wherever we pass. And, whilst faithful to the Divine 
commands and to the teachings of Holy Church, let us discharge 
our duties, however humble, and the Angels will defend us from 
dangers and faithfully note our good works. They will accompany 
us to the sojourn of the good God, where our joy and happiness 
will be complete. I will not preach to you, my dear young ladies, 
for you have heard many sermons in past years in the College. 

You know the way. You have the arms to combat with. So 
I will content myself by expressing the firm trust I have in my 

Letter to the Ahimnae of Rome — May, 1905 


heart, that even after you leave the College you will show your¬ 
selves worthy of whatever state of life to which God has called 
you, that you will impart to others the lights you have received, 
always calling to mind that life is short, and that we have only 
one soul which will live eternally in the abode either of glory or 
of suffering, according as we have prepared for ourselves either 
the one or the other in this life. The thought of the four last 
things to be remembered made a Saint of Saint Teresa. May the 
holy and the tremendous truths of our Holy Faith strengthen 
you not only in the trials of life against the false illusions of the 
world that try to deceive you, but let them incite you to do as 
much as you can for the students of the Normal Schools who will 
be entrusted to your care, so that they may become not only 
cultured, but well founded in the maxims of that Holy Faith, 
which is the Ark, outside which there is no salvation. 

God bless you now, in your examinations; in your scholastic 
career and in your state of life, so that you may render it fruitful 
to the Church, Country and Society. 

Denver, Colorado, 

May 9th, 1905. 

Mother Frances Saverio Cabrini. 
Superior General of the Missionary 
Sisters of the Sacred Heart. 


oCetter to tLe Studentd of thi. 
^eaclierd C^oiieg^e in i^ome 

^deLruar^, 1906 

A. M. G. SS. C. J. 

Chicago, February, 1906. 

My dear Daughters, 

I was very pleased to receive your letters and wishes for a 
Happy Christmas, though I had hoped that this year, at 
least, I would have been in the Eternal City to spend the Holy 
Feast with you, and so be able to reciprocate your happy wishes 
in person; on the contrary, I must now convey them to you, a 
hundredfold, in writing. I confess that such noble and kind 
expressions of feelings on your part have given me great consola¬ 
tion in the deep regret I feel at finding myself still so far from 
Rome. Duty alone, which the Missionary must always put before 
pleasure,' has kept me so long from Italy, but, believe me, immedi¬ 
ately the little business which detains me now is finished, I shall 
not delay my departure a single day. 

How many times have I thought myself almost at the end of 
my present Mission in the United States, when I have found new 
work to do, work that I could not have neglected without neglect¬ 
ing the holy interests of the glory of God and the salvation of 
souls. But now I am in a position to assure you that in a few 
weeks I shall be with you to rejoice in your virtues, in your 
progress and in your loving company. 

I wrote to you from the summit of the Rocky Mountains, 
promising to tell you something of my journey to California, and 
I do not think you would be disposed to forgive me if I forgot 
my promise. Hence I steal a little time, at one moment from my 
Religious and at another from business to converse with you. 



Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

I think I wrote to you of my work in Denver for the enlarge¬ 
ment of the Orphanage we have in that city for the daughters of 
our emigrants. It will be enough for you to know' that, with 
the help of the Sacred Heart, always ready to favour us, I have 
been able to acquire a beautiful property at the foot of the Rocky 
Mountains, standing upon a pleasant hill which descends with a 
gentle slope to the banks of the Rocky Mountains Lake. The 
house, to which a wing is being added, because space is already 
limited on account of the thirty orphans which are gathered there 
this first year, is surrounded by trees laden with fruit and enhanced 
by the proximity of the clear waters of the lake. To the west 
extends the imposing Rocky Chain with its summits covered with 
snow; to the east is the beautiful city of Denver. To the south 
and north are great plains, three-fourths of which include the 
territory of Colorado. 

Meanwhile, seated in a comfortable carriage of the Santa Fe 
railway, which was taking me to Los Angeles, my glance swept 
across those immense plains which, around Denver, are dotted 
with the cottages of our Italian agriculturists, and w'hich, further 
on, are uninhabited, there being immense tracts still of virgin 
soil. My thoughts flew to our emigrants, who, in such great 
numbers, land every year on the Atlantic shores, overcrowding 
still more the already populous city of the east, where they meet 
with great difficulties and little gain. In the west there is still 
room for millions and millions and its most fertile soil would 
offer occupation more congenial to the Italian emigrants, as well 
as a field in which to develop their activities and their agrarian 
knowledge, and to crown their efforts and labours with copious 

This stream of population must have its course intelligently 
directed. I know that the Emigration Department is occupying 
itself with this problem, which is so important for the welfare of 
our emigrants in the United States. The solution, however, 
presents great difficulty, not only because of the four thousand 
miles which separate the Atlantic from the Pacific, but more 
especially because it is difficult to find good-hearted persons who 
will occupy themselves with the work and will not speculate in 
the sacred interests of the poor. 

Poor emigrants are so often cheated by those who pretend to be 

Letter to the Students — February^ 1906 


their protectors. This deception is all the more cruel, because 
these so-called protectors know well how to colour their private 
interests under the cloak of charity and patriotism! 

During my journey I saw these dear fellows of ours engaged 
on the construction of railways in the most intricate mountain 
gorges, miles and miles away from any inhabited region. Hence 
they are separated for years from their families, far from the 
Church, deprived of the holy joys which in our own country the 
poor peasant has on Sundays at least. In Italy the peasant is 
able to put his hoe aside, and, in his best clothes, after having 
consecrated the morning to Divine Service and heard the words 
of the priest, who reminds him of the nobility of his origin and 
of his destiny, and of the value of work consecrated to God, has 
one day in the week to devote to his family and to honest amuse¬ 
ments, and is thus able to resume his work the next morning with 
his mind invigorated. 

Here the hardest labour is reserved for the Italian worker. There 
are few who regard him with a sympathetic eye, who care for him 
or remember that he has a heart and soul: they merely look upon 
him as an ingenious machine for work. It is true that here the 
Italian wins esteem because he is sober, honest, faithful and 
industrious, but how much real joy does he not give up in leaving 
his native country for foreign lands, without anyone to guide 
him on the road of true happiness, which does not consist in 
hoarding heaps of money, which, more often than not, cannot 
be enjoyed when misfortune comes. How much better his little 
field in his native country would be for him. What a great social 
and philanthropic work could be achieved by anyone who knew 
how to turn these hands, which waste their activity to the advan¬ 
tage of foreign countries, to the benefit of our own lovely land! 
I do not mean to deny that there are advantages in these immense 
fertile virgin lands. They certainly offer the emigrants work and 
a comfortable life, but I trust that some really generous minds 
may arise who will take to heart the interests of the poor, and 
direct them well and conscientiously when they land on these 

I can assure you, now, that in my journey through our Missions, 
the evidence of the good that is being done by our Institutions 
for the emigrants is of the greatest comfort to me. That which, 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

being women, we are not allowed to do on a large scale, such as 
helping to solve important social problems, is being done in our 
little sphere in every State and in every city where our Houses 
have been opened. In them the orphans, the sick and the poor 
are sheltered, but the good done by coming into contact with a 
great number of people, which such institutions of charity make it 
easy for the Sisters of the colony to get into touch with, is immense. 

The relations between the Sisters and the people are very 
cordial. The poor people call them Mothers and Sisters, and 
they feel these words are not without meaning, for they know 
that with such titles hearts truly maternal correspond. They 
know that the hearts of the Sisters palpitate in unison with theirs, 
and that, having put aside all thoughts of themselves, the Sisters 
make their troubles, their interests and their joys their own. All 
this, however, is not our merit, but the fruit of the love of Christ 
and of the prodigious fertility of our Holy Religion, the true friend 
of the people, the light which guides them in the darkness, the 
house of refuge, tower of strength and port of safety. 

While I am conversing with you, we have reached the Colorado 
Springs, the aristocratic city of Colorado, which rises out of the 
shadow of Pike s Peak, one of the highest summits of these moun¬ 
tains. The weak and consumptive are attracted here by the 
mildness of the climate, the salubrity of the surrounding mountains 
and the many and various mineral waters, which on every side 
spring up fresh, foaming and sparkling. The Indians, astonished 
at such a v/ealth of mineral waters, thought their god Manitou, 
an Indian word which means Great Spirit, lived in these mountains, 
and especially in the one called the “Garden of the Gods.” On 
my return I will show you a view of this natural park, several 
hundred acres in extent, in which brightly-coloured rocks are 
scattered in thousands and sculptured by Nature in the most 
strange forms, now imposing, now grotesque, sometimes austere, 
sometimes frivolous, as it were, presenting the strangest appear¬ 
ances. Here, a little further on. General Palmer, one of our good 
benefactors, possesses a private “Garden of the Gods,” a real 
jewel of art, both as regards the palace he has built and the natural 
beauty of the rocks, which here form very high peaks, reflecting 
the most varied colours. Among the rocks can still be seen the 
nest on an eagle, which for years lived here as queen of the 


Letter to the Students — February, 1906 

mountains. But a short time ago its young eaglet was killed, 
and since that day the noble bird has deserted the nest, to the 
great regret of the General, as may be imagined, as he had become 
very proud of it. 

Leaving the Colorado Springs, we reach Trinidad in a few hours. 
This is an important field of various mines, especially coal, in 
which very many Italians are employed. Our Sisters visit them 
regularly, and to these poor people such a visit is like a ray of 
sun in the darkness of the bowels of the earth. They speak 
to them of their daughters whom they have under their charge, 
and of their families whom they have visited. They remind them 
of their religious duties, comfort them in the sadness of their 
miserable conditions, and always leave them happier, or at least 
more resigned to their poverty. The fatigues of the Sisters in 
climbing up the steepest mountains are rewarded by the smiles 
which light up the faces of these poor people on hearing the 
maternal tongue resounding in these dark vaults. Poor miners! 
Do you want to know what their life is? Those who work on a 
day shift, enter the mines at six o’clock and remain buried there 
till mid-day. They come out at twelve o’clock for a short meal, 
and go in again at half-past twelve to leave at five. Half-an-hour 
is spent in washing themselves and preparing for supper. When 
they have finished this meal, feeling worn out, they throw them¬ 
selves on their little beds, to rise again the following morning at 
the sound of the whistle which calls them to work. On Sundays 
they smoke and sleep. This is the life they lead far from their 
families and separated from the company of men. They. continue 
uninterruptedly year in and year out, until old age and incapacity 
creep over them, or at least until some day a landslide or explosion 
or an accident of some kind ends the life of the poor worker, who 
does not even need a grave, being buried in the one in which he 
has lived all his life. 

Oh, if the voice of religion at least could reach all these poor 
people, and teach them to make holy and noble such fatiguing 
work, and to render it fruitful for Eternity, what a boon it would 
be for them! Thus you see the tremendous responsibility resting 
on those who take away the gift of faith from the working classes, 
for in so doing they rob them of every hope of the future life, 
banishing the love of God from their hearts. Take away the 

264 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

supernatural principles and dictates of our Holy Faith, and what 
remains but wickedness and the indulgence of every passion? 
Pray, my good daughters, that the number of Missionary workers 
may be increased, and that they may be really zealous and good- 
hearted, because the efforts of such are capable of arresting the 
materialism and unbelief which, like a most subtle ether, infiltrates 
itself everywhere, causing great, immense and irreparable damage. 

Pray that all the docile Faithful may listen to the voice of the 
Vicar of Jesus Christ, Pope Pius X, who, conscious of these great 
evils which threaten to shake the foundations of Society, proposes 
to restore everything in Christ. Strong in the strength of God, 
assisted as he is by the Holy Ghost, he will not fail to fulfil in the 
Church the high mission to which God has elected him, but at the 
same time what fatigue he must suffer, what cares, what troubles 
must torment his heart, and preoccupy his mind in such an 
arduous task. At least let him feel that he is comforted by the 
love and obedience of his children, and let him find in each and 
everyone that co-operation which it is our bounden duty to give 
to him. This co-operation will make possible the fulfilment of 
the holy designs of the Pope and the arresting of the many evils 
which threaten to overwhelm the world. 

Having left the large manufacturing city of Trinidad, the train 
enters the heart of the mountain district. As the locomotive 
ascends slowly, we are able to admire the beauty of the landscape. 
Every minute the view changes. We behold austere mountains 
whose summits are whitened with shining snow, hills quite green 
with pine trees and reddened by the colours of the rock and soil, 
sharp peaks which seem to touch the sky and on which the eagle 
alone rests, plateaus where the hardy goat back from his mountain 
excursions comes to browse upon the green grass in which they 
are so rich, and where the slow ox and the proud buffalo pasture 
together quite unconscious that in the neighbouring glen the howl 
of the white bear resounds. Here and there silver streams descend 
among the rocks and soon become threatening torrents which, in 
rapids and waterfalls, follow their beds of many-coloured rocks. 
The name Colorado was never better applied than to this enchant¬ 
ing country, to these most beautiful natural parks, where the 
hand of man could never add greater beauty than that with which 
Nature has enriched it. 

Letter to the Students — February, 1906 


In truth, here one exclaims spontaneously: How wonderful is 
God in His works! But, meanwhile, we have begun to descend 
the western slope, and, turning with a rapid run towards the 
Pacific, have crossed the frontier of New Mexico. This country is 
most interesting. Here the Indians still live in their pueblos, 
little villages constructed like fortresses on steep and almost 
inaccessible mountains. It may, indeed, be said that the rock 
itself forms three sides of the house. The front is hermetically 
sealed, having neither door nor window, so that only by means 
of a ladder and an opening in the roof can one descend into their 
little houses. It seems that these Indians of New Mexico, unlike 
the other more savage and hunt-loving tribes are a temperate, 
frugal, industrious race, and devoted to agriculture. It is with 
the object of safeguarding their provisions and the fruits of their 
labour from the rapacity of their neighbors, that their pueblos 
are built like regular fortresses. Looking out of the carriage of 
the train, I saw these poor Indians sitting before their hovels, 
in their picturesque costumes, making small baskets, at which 
industry they are very clever. 

When I arrived at Albuquerque, the metropolis of the Valley of 
Rio Grande, I was able to approach them, as they were arranged 
in double line under the arches of the station, offering to travellers 
the products of their industry. Some were selling terra cotta 
vases, daisy works and boxes cleverly constructed, while others 
contented themselves with offering garments, topaz of various 
colours and other little stones found in the Mexican deserts. The 
interior of the station contains a beautiful collection of Indian art, 
and the cleverest of the Indian people weave the famous Navajo 

The Indian races are very numerous and varied. Some of them 
show an erect forehead and aquiline nose, with a proud intelligence 
shining over their countenance, whilst the penetrating eye reveals 
the hardiness proper to their race, not to mention their nobility 
and kindness of heart. Other Indian tribes are much inferior to 
these, and their faces denote an almost stupid dullness. The 
women especially, seem very fond of painting their faces in various 
colours in such a way as to resemble tattooing. 

Many and various are their costumes, which I will not attempt to 
describe, because the illustration which I shall bring back with 

266 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

me will give you a better idea of them than my own description 
could. Just as I got off the train, some Mexicans and a few 
Indians crowded around us, delighted at seeing the Sisters. The 
Indians more timid than the others came forward gradually, 
offering me their little works. Attracted by the shining Cross, 
they asked to be allowed to kiss it. Whilst satisfying this innocent 
desire of theirs, I thought “How many among these uncivilized 
peoples do not yet know God, and are sunk in the darkest idolatry, 
superstition and ignorance, without anyone to do them a little 
good, and all for want of Missionary workers!’’ Oh! how the 
heart of the Missionary suffers when, kindled with zeal for the 
glory of God and the salvation of souls, she feels her very forces 
paralysed by her powerlessness to enter into every place where 
the interests of God call her! These poor souls in the meantime 
fix their eyes curiously on one, and seem to say in their mute 
languages, “Why do you not come and bring the light of your 
Faith amongst us?” Oh, generous and Christian souls! Why 
do you not listen to the call of these distant brothers of yours? 
You do not lack courage, energy, intelligence or heart. Why 
leave hidden and buried so many beautiful gifts with which the 
Lord has endowed you, and not employ them rather for the benefit 
of those who do not know the true God? Why do you not reflect 
that these talents of yours, employed in the service of the Lord, 
will produce immense merit on earth and glory in Heaven ? Thus 
spoke the poor Indians of Albuquerque to my heart. These Indians 
represent to me the numerous and scattered tribes of the west 
of the United States and a keen feeling of regret makes my heart 
bleed at not being able now, through lack of assistants, to remain 
amongst them and to apply myself to their spiritual and intellec¬ 
tual culture. The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, who 
work day and night in the United States, already number more 
than four hundred, but they are, however, only as a little blade 
of corn in a limitless field. Oh, may the Sacred Heart grant that, 
for His greater glory and for the salvation of souls redeemed by 
Him, many generous souls may come forward and enrol themselves 
in our ranks under the banner of the Sacred Heart! There is 
room for everybody, for every activity, for every talent and for 
every inclination. She who consecrates herself to Jesus as a 
Missionary Sister, willing to carry His name even to the utmost 

Letter to the Students — February, 1906 


ends of the earth, sacrificing her dearest affection and even life 
itself, is a true heroine in whose heart the flame of love burns 
brightly. She does not stifle her own heart nor put under a bushel 
the shining light of intelligence with which God has endowed her. 
On the contrary, the flame kindled in her heart becomes a regular 
volcano of love which embraces everything. That gleam of light 
becomes a brilliant torch, causing darkness to disappear and erring 
souls to find their way. Happy the one who, at the tribunal of God, 
will be able to present herself followed by a great number of souls 
saved through her. The voice of God calls many, but not all 
listen to Him. For this reason very often we sorrow at seeing a 
great harvest lost for want of workers. 

You, my good daughters, in your great mission of education, 
are the first co-operators in the Missionary works of the Sacred 
Heart, and for this reason you are especially dear to my heart in 
the great family which Jesus has given me. I expect much from 
you. Not only your native country and religion hope for great 
things from you, but all the world. To be a Missionary it is not 
necessary to go all over the world. The facility of transport and 
means of emigration to-day enable men to pass from one country 
to another with the same amount of ease as that with which they 
go out of their house into the garden. Every year we see thou¬ 
sands and thousands of our countrymen landing here. We see 
them in constant contact with irreligious and godless people. If 
every child that is entrusted to us in our schools is brought up 
in the fear of God, if we, moreover, train the little mind, we 
thereby educate the heart and instil into that child the principles 
of religion and honesty in such a manner that he will grow up a 
good Christian citizen. Is it not likely also that this pupil of 
ours may in turn become a teacher himself, and prove much more 
efficacious in his teaching, because familiar exhortations may often 
strike the mind more readily than sterile and academical instruc¬ 
tions? The teacher who educates her pupils in the way I have 
indicated sows the mustard seed abundantly. This seed, accord¬ 
ing to the words of Our Divine Master Himself, will grow to a 
great height, and the Missionary will never know in this life how 
much fruit it will have produced unto Eternity. My good 
daughters! May your school be not only a school of literature, 
science, mathematics and history, but also of virtue, solid Christian 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

morality, and you will have rendered a great service not only to 
religion but also to your country. Moreover, you will greatly 
contribute to make our country honoured and respected by all other 

Now we have left New Mexico and have entered Arizona, or, 
to speak more accurately, the desert. Really the deserts of 
Arizona are not at all what we should have imagined them to be 
from their name; they are neither monotonous nor without life. 
They are immense territorities intersected by chains of mountains, 
profound abysses, extinguished volcanoes, various coloured peaks 
and mounts of gigantic forms, so varied that with a little stretch 
of the imagination they seem at one moment like castles with 
turrets and towers of defence, while at other times they look like 
colossal monuments adorned with an infinite number of columns 
and marvellous sculptures. The sands of the desert have already 
proved to be fertile soil for whatever the cultivator may desire to 
produce, i.e., if he has the courage to dig wells in dry sands and 
sow vegetables and plant fruit trees. The great heat of the country 
enables the producer to gather his products in the winter when 
they are dear. We are approaching California, the land of the 
giant in the vegetable kingdom, where the yuccas and shrubs and 
herbs assume colossal proportions. Here the cactus, which is 
called Cereus giganteus, reaches a height of sixty feet. But the 
greatest attraction of this desert consists in the Petrified Forest 
and what is called the Grand Canon of Arizona, which is a tract of 
about one thousand square acres, which probably flourished on 
the shores of an interior sea, and in the evolution of time became 
submerged by the waters and is now covered by the sands of the 
desert. Here we find lying on the ground or springing up from 
the sands, innumerable trunks of petrified trees of different 
dimensions, some of them extending to ten feet in diameter. They 
seem to have been pines or cedars. Water has gradually filled up 
the cells with flints, manganese and oxide of iron mixed with 
other such substances, which have given them such beautiful 
tints as to elicit the wann admiration of the traveller. Under the 
action of the heat or cold, these trunks have become fractured so 
that they present the appearance of having been sawn by the 
hand of man into enormous disks. In their natural state these 
masses of wood do not possess very brilliant colours, but when 

Letter to the Students — February, 1906 


they are skilfully worked, they justify the name of jewel forest, 
an appellation given to this wood because every particle of these 
trees can be and has been transformed into chalcedony, agate, 
amethyst, topaz, etc. One of these trees, to which I am referring, 
with its trunk still intact, has fallen across a chasm forty feet 
wide, so that it forms a kind of bridge. Its top and root are 
buried in the sand, which fact gives you an idea of its height. 
You will, surely, be curious to see a specimen of this beautifully 
petrified wood, and to satisfy your curiosity I will bring a piece 
of it on my return. 

From this wonder we pass to another still greater, one which 
up to the present moment no one has been able to describe, viz., 
the Grand Canon of Arizona. So I shall not even try to make 
you realise the beauties of it when gifted writers have found 
their task superior to their ability. The word Canon, from the 
Spanish, is used here often to indicate the gigantic gorges, moun¬ 
tains and precipices, call them what you wish, which the immense 
rivers of these countries have excavated in the course of centuries 
in these titanic regions. The Grand Canon is an intricate system 
of canons, more than six hundred feet in depth, one hundred and 
twenty-five miles in width and one hundred and eighty miles in 
length. Anyone venturesome enough to look over the edge of the 
canon would imagine he was on the top of a very high mountain, 
instead of on the edge of a profound abyss, having regard to the 
stupendous panorama which is spread before him. It is a labyrinth 
of immense architectural forms infinitely varied in design. There 
is no reason to envy the pyramids of Egypt or the majestic mauso¬ 
leums of the Pharaohs, decorated as they are with the most curious 
ornaments, when nature can produce these marvels, resembling 
sometimes lace or veil, and giving at other times a vision of festoons 
hanging from the rocks painted in a great variety of colours such 
as the hand that holds the palette can produce. Diaphanous tints 
of marvellous delicacy are also to be seen. The highest mountains 
which dominate this abyss, change their color according to the 
hour of the day; so that the rubies you see now change themselves 
later on into emeralds, while afterwards they become as brilliant as 
diamonds under the powerful rays of the sun, and like sapphires in 
the evening time. In the presence of such an imposing spectacle, 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

man feels very small. In the eye of the Faithful, this is an image, 
though a faint one, of God. 

Down the Grand Canon, the ridges of which are about six hun¬ 
dred feet high, the train descends at high speed along the sides 
of the mountains, coasting, as it were, on the brink of precipices, 
until we arrived at the city of Needles, which is but a few feet above 
the level of the sea, only to ascend again immediately about three 
thousand feet. The position of this city, nearly buried between 
two very high mountains, coupled with the nature of the soil, all 
covered with lava erupted during past centuries by the neighbouring 
volcanoes, makes Needles one of the hottest countries in the world, 
or at least in the United States. Really, the heat was suffocating. 
Not being able to endure the flaming heat, which entered through 
the small windows and even through the cracks or small openings 
in the train, I tried to shelter myself behind cushions, but in a 
few minutes they also became, as it were, red-hot. 

Needles is on the confines of Arizona, and so is the gateway of 
California. The darkness of night soon enveloped the country, 
which is not very attractive; but the next day, as soon as the sun 
rose, the train was running amidst clusters of orange groves, hedges 
of eucalyptus, and the most beautiful green meadows and hedges of 
flowers. We were in California. 

With good reason, this State is often compared with Italy, and 
especially with our so-called Riviera, and those who say it should 
be compared with the land of promise flowing with milk and honey 
are not mistaken. California is rich in gold, silver and every 
precious metal, amongst which are the famous mines of Tourinaline, 
which provide a stone which is now being used very much. But 
one of its principal attractions is its incomparable climate. Here 
there is constant spring. The sky is even more beautiful than 
that of Italy. It rains only two months in the year. There are 
hot days it is true, but in Summer the heat is tempered by sea 
breezes. The nights are very cool. When I left California in 
the month of December, the hills were already green and the trees 
putting forth their new buds. A beneficent fog, loaded with all 
the smoke and miasma of the city, rises every evening, but during 
the night is pushed slowly towards the sea by a current of fresh 
air which comes from the mountains. In the morning another 
kind of fog envelops the hills on which the city of Los Angeles 


Letter to the Students — February^ 1906 

stands. The sun takes some time to dissolve it, so that often it 
does not rise until ten a.m. This fog, which emanates from the 
sea, is of a transparent blue, and as it is driven by the sea winds 
in an opposite direction to that of the evening fog, the atmosphere 
becomes purified and remains limpid and serene for the rest of 
the day. 

As far as the climate is concerned, the products of• California 
you know better than I. Every fruit tree and every herb grows 
to immense proportions. Here we find gigantic trees in the trunks 
of which chapels are built and arches cut out through which 
motor vehicles pass to and fro. Here is the celebrated water-lily 
Victoria Regia, which you know from the description. Here is 
to be seen a trunk of Washingtonia Regia hundreds of years old. 
It is the giant of the forests, and fell by some unknown accident. 
Its immensity is such that a squadron of horsemen can ride over 
it as if it were a main street, or, better still, a parade ground, 
for military display. Here the geraniums grow to such a height 
that they form hedges which divide the various properties, and 
sometimes climb to a height of thirty feet and gracefully adorn 
the trunks of palms that line the streets and adorn the gardens. 

The fruit have a special fragrance and flavour. Here, near Los 
Angeles, lives the celebrated naturalist, Burbank, who, adding new 
wonders to the wonders of Nature by his ingenious experiments 
and graftings, has produced new kinds of fruit and flowers, apricots 
and prunes without stones and grapes without seeds. 

To the glory of the Church, I must tell you that Mr. Burbank, 
was shown the way to success by Abbot Gregory Mendel, who, 
half-a-century ago, in his Monastery in Austria, began the experi¬ 
ment which has made the name of the naturalist of California 
famous. What the latter now accomplishes is due to the ingenuity 
and skill of an intelligent Augustinian monk. From this we see 
how much we owe the Church as the cultivator of sciences and arts. 

As soon as I arrived here I began to look round the town and 
its suburbs, in order to find suitable grounds for a School and 
Orphanage. There is not a hill or valley which I did not visit, 
and always with an increasing admiration of God's goodness, which 
is so clearly seen in this privileged country. Every valley is a 
natural sanatorium, where, by just remaining in the open air 
night and day, one is cured of some special disease, and there is 

272 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

such a valley for every illness. Those suffering from consumption 
have their tents placed at the foot of a hill. In these they sleep 
and live, and after some years find themselves stronger and more 
vigorous than ever they were. In other places those who suffer 
from asthma, nerves and anaemia, likewise recover their health. 
The air acts both as doctor and medicine to all. 

Los Angeles in 1880 had only eleven thousand inhabitants, now 
it counts one hundred and fifty thousand, and in the winter this 
number is increased by tourists who come to spend the season 
here. Whilst I was there, thirty thousand more were added to 
the population. It is only about sixteen miles from the sea, which 
is easily reached by an incomparable system of electric trains. 
The most elegant palaces, not to be found in other States, adorn 
the streets, while villas and parks extend from the brow of the 
hills to the plains. There is no house, however small, that has 
not a flower garden and palms give the city an elegant aspect. 
It was precisely on one of these hills that I found a place adapted 
to our work, and I can really say it was prepared for us by the 
Sacred Heart, for the palm trees in front of the house hide it so 
nicely that it seems like a real Convent. At the same time we are 
but a short distance from the town, and at the foot of the hill 
where our house is situated the Italian families live, so that the 
Sisters find themselves in a few minutes right on the field of work 
and are able to quickly reach the School that Bishop Conaty is 
erecting for us. 

Whilst I was arranging to buy this property, I had the oppor¬ 
tunity of visiting the Venice of America, as it is called. This 
place is situated in a most charming position on the shores of the 
Pacific Ocean. It is a small city built after the style of Venice. 
There are artificial canals and bridges, small copies, one might 
say, of the Queen of the Adriatic, and the canals are crossed 
by small gondolas. 

Stone buildings are few in number, as are also brick houses in 
Los Angeles, but the houses made of wood are of exquisite work¬ 
manship. Th€:refore, except in the principal streets, which remind 
one of Italy, the city consists mainly of tents. There are thousands 
so lined up as to form streets of them, and they are as large as 
a good-sized room, well-furnished, lighted by electricity, and even 

Letter to the SUidents — February, 1906 


the richest leave their palaces at least for a month to enjoy the 
freedom of the Pacific beach. 

A restful and pleasant trip was oifered to me by Mr. Banning, 
owner of the famous Santa Catalina Island, who granted us the 
passage on his motor boat. So much I had heard of this pretty 
island, that I could not leave California without being able to tell 
you something about it. There we went recently, on a sunny day, 
when the sky was cobalt blue and the ocean well deserved the name 
of '"Pacific”. The three hours trip seemed very short, absorbed as 
we were in the sight of the ocean and sky. As we approached, only 
the outline of the rocky island could be seen—about thirty miles in 
length—but on entering the bay, the fog gently lifted like the cur¬ 
tain of an immense stage, revealing the enchanting scenery prepared 
by the hand of God. I thought I was viewing, in a dream, an 
earthly paradise. Against the background of a sapphire blue sky, 
rose green mountains dotted here and there by elegant villas, 
nestling among pines and palms. The air is so clear that distances 
can scarcely be measured, for the power of vision seems to increase. 
In the transparent blue waters the bottom of the ocean is easily 
seen, swarming with myriads of fish, among them the flying fish that 
suddenly darts in the air like an arrow, and dives into the waves. 
Seals, imported from Newfoundland playfully swim among the 
fish, which accustomed to their company, seem to pay no attention 
to their antics; as they are not frightened by men diving and swim¬ 
ming in their midst. Such is the harmony of nature reigning here. 
More friendly still are the aquatic birds, playing around and 
hovering over the fishermen. Thousands of sea gulls live in the 
bay of Avalon, flying, dipping or gently rocking on the waves. 
They roost on sail masts, on the edges of boats, on rocks. Any object 
rising above the waters is adorned by their elegant white forms. 
But a more enchanting sight may be enjoyed by taking a trip in a 
glass bottomed boat. I had heard of the undersea gardens of Santa 
Catalina and I imagined that through some optic illusion, produced 
by mirrors and lenses, people could see fantastic plants and flowers 
at the bottom of the ocean, and I did not think it worth while to 
take the trip; but what I saw surpassed all my expectations. 

In the bottom of the boat there is an opening with a glass 
window, through which you can see everything in the sea. We 
had hardly left land when the sea, which appeared smooth and 

274 Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

sandy at the bottom, gradually became full of rocks and then of 
green mountains. Between these were plains and valleys, all 
covered with green sea plants, which in some places reached a 
height of one hundred feet, waving to and fro with the movement 
of the sea. There was a never-ending variety of aquatic plants, 
some of which bore purple flowers, different kinds of fruit of 
delicate tints, fresh like the blossoms of Spring, and they were 
continually moved by the waters, as by a breeze. If the view of 
a land park is beautiful, I can assure you that a marine park is 
much more so, especially when you behold it inhabited by every 
kind of fish, including the goldfish, and its rocks adorned by shells 
of the most brilliant colours. After two hours of these wonderful 
sights we landed on the beach of moonstones. These are rough 
pebbles, and when cut and polished they are made up into vari¬ 
ous kinds of ornaments. The chalcedony of which these are 
formed must have fallen from some high mountain. Who knows 
how far away? It is beaten by the waves on the beach. Tourist 
visitors find them, and thus have the opportunity of carrying 
away with them an interesting remembrance of Santa Catalina. 
I remained there more than twenty-four hours. The island belongs 
to a rich man, who refused to sell it for five million dollars. He has 
made it a holiday resort and a terrestrial paradise for tourists. 

The perfect system of electric trains which connects Los Angeles 
with its suburbs, affords foreign visitors the opportunity of a 
beautiful pleasure trip, which I was able to avail myself of through 
the kindness of friends. In less than four hours after leaving the 
shores of the Pacific, we reached the top of Mount Lowe, six 
thousand feet high. Leaving the beach, we ran through vineyards 
and fields which reveal the fruitfulness of the soil. There you 
have only to sow the seed and leave it to the care of the sun and 
rain, and in tlie Autumn you get an abundant crop. In less than 
half-an-hour, Los Angeles appeared like a majestic queen with 
her beautiful white palaces scattered through the perennial green 
of the surrounding hills. Then, between new hills, we reached 
the aristocratic city of Pasadena, where the millionaires of the 
United States pass the winter. In the midst of green carpets dotted 
with flowers and amidst the perfume of orange trees, we reached 
the foot of Sierra Madre. To the inhabitants of California, the 
word ‘ffoothiir’ suggests all that one can imagine as good, beau- 

Letter to the Students — February, 1906 


tiful and healthy. There, orange and lemon blossom and ripen 
without danger of frost, and there one gathers even in winter 
the most delicate vegetables. There also the sick recover their 

From Altadena, which is at the foot of the mountain, you can 
ascend in a railway to a height of five thousand feet. At this 
height begins the most attractive part of the sight, because when 
once there you immediately enjoy the splendid panorama of the 
open valleys and plains. An electric railway, constructed by the 
characteristic boldness of the Americans, spreads its lines from 
peak to peak, suspended over dizzy abysses below, and then climbs 
the rocks of granite, which seem inaccessible, to such a height 
of six thousand feet. And so one enjoys the whole beauty of 
the mountains without being an alpinist. I spent several hours 
contemplating the splendid sight that one enjoys up there, and 
stretched my vision as far as the ocean, which one can see on 
clear days. 

But I must return to Los Angeles. Already our Sisters are well 
settled, and have begun their work, not only in behalf of the 
Italians but also for the poor Mexicans who are numerous here 
and in great need of help. Priests are so few here that the 
heretics have already sown their cockle in this beautiful country. 
Pve never seen a country in which there was a greater number of 
sects, and of the most ridiculous kind. Returning home one eve¬ 
ning at six p.m., I had to pass through one of the principal streets, 
when my attention was drawn to a group of women and men 
prostrate on the ground at the corner of the street, crying and beat¬ 
ing their breasts, whilst one of them preached in a loud voice that 
they should be sorry for their sins. I was told to wait a minute if 
I wished to see a funny sight. 

Then, quite suddenly, they all stood up and clapped their hands 
and jumped and danced very joyfully. The preacher assured 
they jumped with joy. This practice of theirs has given them 
them that the sins they had wept over were pardoned, and so 
the name of the ‘‘Holy Jumpers.” There are also the Nazarenes 
who profess to live without eating or drinking. Christian Science 
holds sway everywhere. Right in the centre of the town these people 
have a big tent, where there are written in big letters the words of 
Holy Scripture referring to the miracle performed by Saint Peter 


Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini 

at the door of the Temple, and there they perform their miracles, 
carefully prepared beforehand, of course. There the lame walk 
and the blind see, in the presence of those foolish enough to allow 
themselves to be deceived. But a poor lame man who, in good 
faith, went in the hope of being cured, was badly treated on one 
occasion. The spirit invoked was unwilling to perform the miracle. 
The minister shouted, ‘'Lord, listen to us because we are holy and 
innocent, and come immediately after you.'' But it was of no use. 
The poor man could not walk, and the minister was so displeased 
and enraged, that had the man not left the tent in a hurry, it would 
have gone ill with him. 

Some of cur poor Italians fall into the net set to catch them. 
If a good knowledge of our Faith is necessary everywhere, it is 
more necessary still in these Protestant countries. 

And this shows us how necessary it is to study the Catechism 
well. How can a poor emigrant be faithful to the truth he does 
not know? How can he practise what he ignores? The small 
Catechism contains the greatest doctrines of our Holy Faith. In 
it the cultured, who, like the eagle, penetrate the Divine Mysteries, 
find food, whilst the simple, not so anxious to speculate, are 
contented to find the road which leads to Eternal Life. Take 
religion away from man, and nothing remains in this life but 
illusion, trials and afflictions without number. Where can he find 
the strength to resign himself to trials and misfortune, if he has 
not the comforting thoughts which religion suggests? Whence 
do rebellions and seditions arise, if not from a lack of religion? 
We are greatly mistaken if, desirous as each one is in her own 
sphere to contribute to the greatness of our country, we do not 
base our hopes on that corner stone which is Christ and His 

Very fortunate you are, my dear daughters, that whilst you 
attend to the acquisition of that culture which is necessary for 
yourselves, you do not neglect the study of that highest science, 
religion. You are still more blessed in the fact that you know how 
to draw fruit from this study. Therefore, yours is not vain science 
that puffs up, but that which reforms manners, educates the heart 
and forms character. Blessed are you in becoming worthy instru¬ 
ments in the hands of God. The Church and Society expect great 
things from you, because your presence alone, your virtues and 

Letter to the Students — February, 1906 


your teachings create a salutary atmosphere, and from you ema¬ 
nates a beneficent influence, educative in the full sense of the 
word, and immense will be the good you will do. 

Having finished my work in Los Angeles, I returned to Chicago, 
where I found the Hospital progressing very nicely. In the past 
twelve months, nine hundred patients have been treated and three 
hundred and fifty operations performed with splendid results. 

When I arrived, the famous Doctor Murphy, president of the 
hospital, asked me what I thought of my children—alluding to the 
many doctors that work there night and day. I answered that I 
was delighted. It was not question of children, but of physicians 
and surgeons, some of whom are already famous in the medical 
world; yet, you should see how humbly they submit to the regula¬ 
tions I dictated, after having studied carefully the local conditions. 
If discipline is necessary in a school, it is essential in an institution 
of this kind, where great are the dangers of abuses. If I am now 
able to leave Chicago with a tranquil mind, it is because I know my 
instructions are carefully observed. 

Regulations are helpful not only to Religious but to everyone, 
for human nature is prone to tire, relax and change according 
to events. To persevere in our good resolutions, in spite of difficul¬ 
ties and aversions, strengthens the character and assures happy 
success to individuals and institutions. 

And now, my good daughters, after having tired your patience, 
I greet you dearly, with the consoling anticipation of seeing you 
soon, while I implore for you the choicest blessings of the Sacred 

Yours most affectionately in Corde Jesu, 

Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini. 

theology library 

CLAREMOMT, calif. 

9 Tl